Posted on : March 11, 2020 by Clinic One on Blog
Pulmonary means anything relating, occurring in the lungs. So, Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs) are a group of tests that are done to examine how well one’s lung is doing. These tests are carried out to measure lung size, lung volume, airflow, gas exchanges, among others. PFTs are noninvasive tests which means that there is no need for an incision into the body. PFTs are also called lung function tests.
PFTs are done to diagnose lung diseases such as:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Respiratory infections
- Chronic bronchitis
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Inflammation or scarring of the lungs
- Exposure of chemicals at work or other places
- Hardening of the connective tissues (scleroderma)
- Effects of other medications
- Formation of lumps of inflammatory cells around the lungs (sarcoidosis)
- Pulmonary tumor
- Lung fibrosis
- Lung cancer
There are different types of PFTs that are done according to the advice of the doctor and the need of the patient. Some of them are as follows:
Spirometry is a test that is done with a device called a spirometer. This test is a breathing test that calculates the amount of air your lungs can inhale and exhale. In some cases, the doctor asks you to breathe normally or quietly into a mouthpiece that is connected to the spirometer. While in other cases, the doctor asks you to breathe as hard as you into the device. This allows doctors to figure out your lung size, rate of airflow in the lungs, etc. In some cases, doctors may ask you to inhale gas or medicine to test your lungs.
2) Plethysmography test:
A plethysmography test helps to determine how much volume of gas is present in your lungs. This volume of gas is known as lung volume. The doctor will ask you to sit in a booth and breathe into a mouthpiece. Lung volume is calculated based on the changes in pressure inside the booth. This test will help in finding if the patient has pulmonary fibrosis or asthma.
3) Diffusion capacity test:
This test helps to estimate the performance of the air sacks known as alveoli, which is found inside the lungs. Different gases such as helium, oxygen, carbon dioxide are used in this test. This test allows doctors to figure out how well oxygen and carbon dioxide are transferred to and from your bloodstream.
What are the risks associated with Pulmonary Function Tests?
Since PFTs are noninvasive, the risks associated with them are less. Usually, you have to follow simple directions from the doctor or the nurse. As it involves inhaling and exhaling of air, there might be some risks which are listed below.
- Shortness of breath.
- Feeling lightheaded.
- Small risk of lung collapse if a patient has certain lungs disorder.
In addition to the risks mentioned above, patients should inform their doctor about the following conditions before going for the PFTs.
- Recent heart attack, chest pain or heart disease.
- Recent eye surgery.
- Respiratory infections such as cold or flu.
- Tuberculosis (TB).
- Recent abdominal surgery.
How to prepare for the Pulmonary Function Test?
- Avoid heavy meals before the test.
- Do not smoke before the test.
- Avoid certain medicines, as directed by the healthcare provider or doctor.
- Avoid wearing tight dresses.
What to expect during the test?
- You have to loosen your clothes, jewelry.
- The bladder should be empty before the test is taken.
- A short clip will be placed on your nose so that breathing is only done through your nose.
- A clean mouthpiece is given which is attached to the spirometer.
- Using the mouthpiece, you will be asked to breathe in and breathe out.
- The steps may be performed for more than one time.
Normal results differ from one patient to another as the result depends upon factors such as age, height, ethnicity, and gender. For spirometry, the doctor calculates predicted normal value before the test. After the procedure is done, the doctor calculates your test score. It is considered a normal result if the test score is more than 80 percent of the predicted score.
If the test comes out to be abnormal, it means that you may have chest or lung infection. The doctor will further advise you on what the next steps are to be followed.
For appointment and inquiries, please call Clinic One at 01-5400400 | 9863393960 or email us at [email protected]
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