pulmonary function testing

Pulmonary Function Testing

Pulmonary function tests measure oxygen volumes and flows, and how well oxygen diffuses into the blood. The same test can be performed measuring metabolic capacities while a patient is at rest and with exercise.

Types of pulmonary function tests

  • Spirometry
  • Lung volumes by plethysmography
  • Diffusion capacity
  • Exercise stress testing with gas exchange
  • ECG recordings
  • Asthma assessments include methacholine and exercise challenge
  • Metabolic testing by indirect calorimetry
  • Six minute walk sub-maximal exercise testing
  • Arterial blood gas test (blood test for oxygenation and ventilation)

Preparing For Your Appointment

Patients should try and omit any inhaled medicines the day of the test. Fasting is only necessary for metabolic tests (indirect calorimetry), but a full meal just prior to testing should be avoided. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.

Pulmonary function tests are commonly done while sitting in a glass booth, but only one short test is done with the doors closed. You'll be asked to breath in different manners to measure your capacities. These tests take about 30-60 minutes. Sometimes tests are repeated after an inhaler to see if there is improvement. Calorimetry is done while resting, lying under a clear canopy, for 15 minutes.