Pulmonary Function Test
Checking your airways
Pulmonary function tests are used to measure the amount of air moving in and out of the lungs and speed, the size of the lungs, amount of air the lungs can hold, and how well the lungs function in taking oxygen from the air. The goal of these tests is to accurately diagnose your lung condition and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Standard Pulmonary Function Tests
- Spirometry: In this test, the patient holds the spirometer in the mouth, takes a deep breath and exhales as hard and as fast as possible. Our expert team will monitor the exhaled air for any abnormalities. This test helps to diagnose diseases that may affect the bronchial tubes, such as asthma or COPD.
- Bronchodilator Reversibility Testing with Spirometry: This test uses a bronchodilator medication to relax the breathing muscles. After 15 to 20 minutes, the spirometry test is repeated to check for improvements.
- Lung Volume Measurements: These tests determines the amount of air naturally remaining in the lungs after exhalation.
- Nitrogen Washout: One type of lung volume measurement, nitrogen washout, requires the patient to breathe in 100 percent oxygen for several minutes, which washes out the nitrogen normally found in the lungs. The amount of nitrogen is measured.
- Body Plethysmography: Patients sit inside an airtight glass booth, breathing through a mouthpiece connected to the outside of the booth. The breathing instrument measures lung volume by sensing pressure and volume changes inside the booth as the patient breathes.
- Diffusion Capacity: This test measures lung efficiency to determine any impairment to oxygen exchange in the lungs. Diseases that scar the lungs (called fibrosis), make it harder for oxygen to cross into the blood. Other diseases, such as COPD, may damage the lung surface area, causing difficult oxygen exchange.
- Arterial Blood Gas Analysis: This test measures how well the lungs take in oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. It requires a blood sample from an artery (rather than a vein) because arterial blood comes directly from the heart and lungs.
- Pulse Oximetry: Light technology is used to determine how much oxygen is in the blood. It involves placing a small probe on the end of a finger or on the earlobe.
- Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing: This test evaluates the causes of physical limitations experienced during activity, such as shortness of breath, weakness or fatigue. The patient rides an exercise bike while wearing a heart monitor that measures electrical activity of the heart, and a face mask that serves to measure pulmonary function. This information helps to determine whether a patient’s symptoms are caused by problems with the lungs, heart, circulation or muscles.
Specialty Pulmonary Function Tests
- Bronchoprovocation Studies: When asthma is suspected but spirometry test results are normal, bronchoprovocation studies may be done. These studies use inhaled medications to determine if the patient has asthma.
- Respiratory Muscle Forces Testing: This testing method is used to evaluate for diseases that weaken respiratory muscles. It involves measuring the pressure generated while breathing in and out as hard and fast as possible.
- Exercise Desaturation and Oxygen Dose Determination Studies: These studies determine whether a patient needs supplemental oxygen therapy.
- Six-Minute Walk Time: This study measures how far a patient can walk in six minutes. It provides a measure of how lung impairment affects daily living.