Pulmonary Function test is a group of tests conducted to diagnose the functioning of the respiratory system. It includes the test which measures the working of lungs as well as its effectiveness in carrying oxygen to the rest of the body. The test measures lung capacity, volume, gas exchange and rate of flow of oxygen in the lungs. The result helps healthcare provider to diagnose problems in the lungs and decide the required treatment. The test is non-invasive in nature and the test includes- Spirometry, Plethysmography and Diffusion Capacity test. These tests help measure different functioning of the lungs.
The procedure for the process is as follows:
Any object such as jewelry on the body which may interfere with the procedure should be removed.
It is advised to wear loose clothing.
There is no issue with dentures and could be worn in the procedure.
The individual undergoing the test need to empty the bladder.
The individual will sit in a chair and a soft clip will be put on the nose. This is done to ensure that all breathing is done by mouth and not by nose.
A sterile mouthpiece is provided that is attached to a spirometer
A tight seal should be formed over the mouthpiece with mouth and the individual will be asked to inhale and exhale in several ways.
The individual will be watched in the procedure for trouble breathing, dizziness or other issues.
A bronchodilator will be provided after certain tests and the test will be repeated a few minutes later.
Why get tested?
Pulmonary function test shows how well the lungs are working. It measures lung volume, capacity and gas exchange. Through this test, doctors decide the treatment for certain lung disorders. The test is prescribed in several conditions such as a part of routine checkup; check the functioning of the lungs before surgery, to diagnose health conditions of a smoker or if healthcare needs to diagnose one of the following health conditions:
Asbestosis (a lung condition due to inhaling asbestos fibers)
Chronic lung conditions such as chronic bronchitis or bronchiectasis
Scleroderma (a disease caused due to thickening and hardening of connective tissues)
Sarcoidosis (a disease that results in a mass of inflammatory cells around organs such as lungs, spleen and liver)
Restrictive airways problems due to tumors, inflammation, scarring of lungs, scoliosis
Trouble breathing due to chest injury or a recent surgery
This test includes
Total Lung Capacity
Functional Residual Capacity
Respiratory Muscle Function
Arterial Blood Gases
Here is a list of instructions that should be kept in mind before undergoing the test:
Smoking should be avoided before undergoing the test.
Healthcare should be informed about all the on-going medicines which include over-the-counter, herbal supplements; prescriptions based medicines, vitamin, etc.
Heavy meal should be avoided before the test.
In case of any other query, a healthcare provider should be consulted prior to the test.
Frequently asked questions
Q.Is there any risk involved in the test?
The test may pose risk under following circumstances:
-Unstable heart disease
-Recent heart attack
-To avoid any complications during or post the test, a healthcare provider should be consulted in advance.
Q.Which tests are included in Pulmonary Function test?
Following three tests are included in the Pulmonary Function Test:
-Spirometry: To measure the volume of air inhaled and exhaled.
-Plethysmography test: To test the volume of gas in the lungs, also termed as lung volume.
-Diffusion capacity test: To test the working of alveoli (air sacks inside the lungs).