Pulmonary function tests are noninvasive tests that healthcare providers use to determine how well your lungs are working. These tests measure air going in and out of your lungs, air flowing to your blood from your lungs, and lung function during stress. Your healthcare provider may recommend Bridgewater pulmonary function test if they need help diagnosing a health problem. Examples include respiratory infections, allergies, chronic lung conditions, trouble breathing, restrictive airway problems, tumors, scoliosis, or inflammation or scarring of the lungs. Healthy people can also undergo pulmonary function tests as part of a routine physical.
How to prepare for pulmonary function tests
Before your pulmonary test function, you will consult your provider, who will explain what the test entails. During the initial consultation, you may ask your physician questions about the test before signing a consent form. Before your test, you may need to:
- Stop taking certain medications that your doctor advises against
- Stop smoking. Your healthcare provider will tell you how many hours before the test you should stop smoking.
- Avoid vigorous or intense exercise before the test.
Your doctor may recommend additional instructions; it is best to follow all of the instructions your healthcare provider gives.
What happens during pulmonary function tests?
Pulmonary function tests may be done as part of a longer stay in the hospital, or you may have the procedure as an outpatient. That means you can go home on the same day as the test. The way your provider performs the procedure varies depending on your condition and your healthcare provider’s method. Below is what to expect during different tests
First, your healthcare provider will place soft clips on your nose to ensure that you breathe through your mouth instead of your nose. You will put your lips around a mouthpiece that connects to a spirometer. Next, your provider will direct you on how to breathe in and out. Expect to take deep breaths in and out. You may also breathe in and blow out as hard and fast as possible.
During this test, you will put on nose clips and sit in a clear box. The door of the box will remain shut for about five minutes. Since the test takes place in a confined space, it is best to inform your provider if you are claustrophobic; they can devise ways to make you feel more comfortable during the test. You will put your lips around a mouthpiece, and your provider will instruct your breathing. As you breathe, the spirometer detects pressure or volume changes in the box; this helps measure your lung volume.
Cardiopulmonary exercise test
Your healthcare provider will attach you to machines that measure your blood pressure, heartbeat, and oxygen.
You may ride on a stationary bike or walk on a treadmill. The devices measure various aspects of your muscles, lungs, and heart during the test.
Gas diffusion study
You will have nose clips and will put your lips around a mouthpiece. Your provider will guide you on inhaling and exhaling a small, safe amount of carbon monoxide. The spirometer measures the amount of carbon monoxide you exhale, indicating how much gas your lungs absorb.
For further questions about pulmonary function tests, consult your provider at Respacare.