Pulmonary Function Testing
We perform lung testing at our Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove, Red Deer, Calgary, and Camrose locations. A doctor's prescription is required to do this test. There are different reasons why your doctor may request this test. Ask your doctor about lung testing if you are older than 40 years and you are a current or former smoker who has either a chronic cough, wheeze, frequent sputum (i.e. bringing up mucous most days), frequent or lengthy colds, and/or shortness of breath while doing everyday chores.
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:
How to prepare for the test:
PFT (Pulmonary Function Test) FAQs
Q: What are the risks of a PFT?
A: While a PFT is a rather simple test, there are some slight risks to be aware of:
- Dizziness during the test
- Feeling short of breath
- Asthma attack
- Slight pain in your lungs or chest
Q: How do I prepare for a PFT?
A: In order to best prepare for a PFT, go over the following questions with your doctor:
- Can you smoke before the test? If not, how long before do you need to quit?
- Can you take medications before the test? Have a list of medications, vitamins, and supplements ready.
- Can you eat/drink normally before the test?
- Ask your doctor if you have any specific, personal questions leading up to the test so you can show up that day ready for your PFT.
Q: What is Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT)?
A: PFTs are noninvasive tests designed to see how well your lungs are performing. During the test you breathe in and out of a tube while the device measures lung volume, capacity, rates of flow and gas exchange. There may be a series of tests to go through depending on the reasoning for the PFT. Often times, PFTs are used to look for lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema, restrictive airway problems and more.
Q: What does a PFT reveal about my lungs?
A: A pulmonary function test reveals the following about your lungs:
- Lung volumes – how much air the lungs can hold at any given time
- Lung capacity – how much air the lungs can exchange at the end of maximal inspiration
- Airflow rates – how quickly you can move air in and out of your lungs
- Gas exchange – how well your lungs transport gas across lung tissue, into the circulatory system, and back out again
Q: Where can I get a PFT at?
A: You can get your pulmonary function test done right here at Advanced Respiratory Care Network!
Q: Do I need to get a doctor referral for a PFT?
A: In most cases, a referral from your physician is needed in order to get a PFT.