Pulmonary Function Testing

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There are many reasons your physician might order a pulmonary function test (PFT). If you have certain conditions or symptoms, your doctor may recommend this test. Among them are: 

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Being a smoker
  • Having asthma
  • Obesity
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Bronchitis/emphysema
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Occupational exposure to airborne contaminants

What Can Pulmonary Function Testing Do For Me?

There are a number of reasons why people have difficulty breathing. A PFT can provide your doctor with a very accurate measurement of your total lung capacity. This information can then be used to prescribe and determine the effectiveness of medications to improve breathing, which may improve other symptoms. Your doctor may also be able to recommend lifestyle and occupational changes that may greatly enhance your quality of life.

Preparing For Pulmonary Function Testing

If your doctor recommends PFT, he or she will instruct you on what to expect and how to prepare. In general you should:

  • Refrain from smoking several hours prior to your test.
  • Refrain from using any breathing medications for four hours before the test.
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal before you come in.
  • Wear loose, non-restrictive clothes to your appointment.
  • Suspend certain medications for a period before your test. 
  • Avoid strenuous exercise on the day of your test.

What to Expect During Testing and Evaluation

Our practice uses the Whole Body Plethysmography Test - a sophisticated diagnostic tool used to attain the most accurate measurement of your total lung volume. 

During the Test

  • You will sit inside a sealed, transparent enclosure that resembles a telephone booth
  • You will be asked to breathe through a mouthpiece
  • A technician will measure airflow and small changes in pressure inside the booth that occur as you breathe

Once the test is completed, your doctor will evaluate the results. The results will help him or her to accurately diagnose the cause of your breathing diffculties. He or she can then recommend the best treatment plan to help you many any lung diseases or other lung-related problems that keep you from being able to breathe normally.