Pulmonary Function Testing
There are different reasons why your doctor may request this test. Ask your doctor about lung testing if you are older than 40 years experiencing the following symptoms
- Chronic cough
- Frequent sputum (i.e. bringing up mucous most days)
- Frequent or long-term colds
- Shortness of breath doing everyday chores or tasks
What is a Pulmonary Function test?
Pulmonary function tests are a group of tests that measure how well the lungs take in and release air and how well they move gases such as oxygen from the atmosphere and into the body’s circulation. The test is performed when you breathe in through a mouth piece that is connected to an instrument called a spirometer. The spirometer records the amount and rate of air that you breathe in and out over a period of time. For some of the test measurements you will breathe normally and quietly, other tests will require forced inhalations and exhalations after a deep breath.
Lung volumes can be measured in two ways. The most accurate way is to sit in a sealed clear box that looks like a telephone booth (body plethysmography), while you breathe in and out of a mouth piece. Changes of the pressure inside the box will help determine the lung volume.
Why the test is performed
Pulmonary function tests are done to:
- Diagnose for any types of lung diseases such as asthma and COPD
- Find the cause of shortness of breath
- Measure whether exposure to contaminants of work affect lung function
- Assess the effects of medication
- Measure progress in disease treatment
How to prepare for the test
- Do not eat heavy meals before the test
- Do not smoke for two hours before the test
- You will get specific instructions if you need to stop using your bronchodilators or inhaler medication
Pediatric respiratory consultation