What is pulmonary function testing?
Pulmonary function tests, also called PFTs or lung function tests, help determine how well your lungs are functioning. The results tell your healthcare provider how much air your lungs can hold, how quickly you can move air into and out of your lungs, and how well your lungs are able to use oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide. The tests help determine if you have a lung disease, provide a measure of how serious your lung disease is and show how well the treatment for your lung disease is working.
How is a pulmonary function test done?
Pulmonary function testing is usually done by a specially trained respiratory therapist or technician. For most pulmonary function tests, you’ll be asked to wear a nose clip to make sure no air passes through your nose during the test. You’ll also be asked to breathe into a mouthpiece that’s connected to a machine called a spirometer. The technician may encourage you to breathe deeply during parts of the test to get the best results. Follow all the technician’s instructions to receive the most accurate results.
How do I prepare for my test?
Before the test, you shouldn’t eat a heavy meal. For six hours before the test, you also shouldn’t smoke or exercise vigorously. On the day of the test, avoid food or drinks that have caffeine. Also, wear loose clothing that doesn’t restrict your breathing in any way. If you have dentures, wear them during the test.
How long does a pulmonary function test take?
If you need spirometry only, it should take about 30 minutes. If you need complete PFTs, it takes about one hour.
What does a pulmonary function test tell my healthcare provider?
Pulmonary function testing helps your healthcare provider determine if you have a lung disease, provides a measure of how much your lung disease has progressed, and shows how well the treatment for your lung disease is working. PFTs are interpreted by our pulmonologist, who is specially trained in pulmonary diseases and conditions.
When should I get my first pulmonary function test?
The need for a pulmonary function test should be determined by your healthcare provider.
How often should a pulmonary function test be done?
Your healthcare provider will decide how often you need a PFT. This depends on your medical condition, the medications you take and how well your disease is managed.
What happens to my test results?
The PFTs are interpreted by our pulmonologist, who is specially trained in pulmonary diseases and conditions. The test results and interpretation are sent to the healthcare provider who ordered the test for you.
Who should have a pulmonary function test?
You should have testing to: evaluate shortness of breath, wheezing and/or coughing; evaluate the effectiveness of your current treatment; screen for any lung diseases; evaluate your condition before surgery to assess the risk of having respiratory complications after surgery; assess the progression of your lung disease.