If your doctor has prescribed a pulmonary function test for you to take, you likely have a lot of questions. You may be wondering what a PFT measures and how it will be performed. Most importantly, you want to know what the results of your PFT tell your doctor about your lung health. Advanced Respiratory Care Network performs PFTs at our Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove, Red Deer, Calgary, and Camrose locations. We’re here to answer all your questions, keep reading to learn more about PFTs.
What is a Pulmonary Function Test?
Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are a group of tests that measure how much air moves through your lungs as you inhale and exhale. These tests are non-invasive. All you have to do is wear a mouthpiece that is connected to a device called a spirometer, which is a specialized machine that registers your breathing. These tests are most often performed by utilizing a clear sealed box. As you breathe in and out, the air pressure inside the box will change, allowing your doctor to measure your results.
What a Pulmonary Function Test Tells Your Doctor
The goal of a pulmonary function test is to measure how well your lungs function and move air in order to diagnose potential breathing disorders. Depending on your PFT results, your doctor may diagnose you with a breathing disorder like asthma or COPD. Key metrics for your test include:
- Tidal volume
- Volume of air moved in a minute
- Residual volume
- Total lung capacity
- Peak flow rate
Who Needs a Pulmonary Function Test?
There are a variety of reasons your doctor may prescribe a pulmonary function test. However, the following groups are more likely to need a test:
- Patients over 40 years old
- Current or former smokers
- Patients with frequent lengthy colds
- Patients who experience shortness of breath during everyday activities
If you believe you fall into one of these categories, we encourage you to speak to your doctor about prescribing a PFT. If you have been prescribed a PFT and need to get one scheduled, please contact Advanced Respiratory Care.