Pulmonary function tests are a series of tests which evaluate how well your lungs are performing. A physician referral is required.

pulmonary function testing

The Pulmonary Laboratory at Hartford Hospital features state of the art equipment needed to accurately assess and treat lung conditions. The lab testing is available for inpatient and outpatient examinations.

The pulmonary lab performs several tests to evaluate the following:

  • COPD
  • Asthma
  • Chronic cough
  • Shortness breath
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Pre-operative evaluation
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Vocal cord dysfunction

Available Tests

  • Spirometry:
    Simple test to measure basic lung function. Can be used to evaluate bronchodilator response.

  • Lung Volumes Through Body Plethysmography, Nitrogen Washout or Helium Dilution:
    More detailed tests measuring total lung capacity. Airway resistance can be measured through body plethysmography.

  • Diffusion Capacity:pulmonary function testing
    Measures the ability of the lungs to diffuse oxygen into and carbon dioxide out of the bloodstream.

  • Arterial Blood Gas:
    This test measures the amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide and the pH of an arterial blood sample.

  • Oximetry:
    Evaluation of oxygen saturation at rest and with exercise.

  • 6 Minute Walk Test:
    Functional status test used for establishing baseline as well as monitoring progress.

  • Maximum Inspiratory and Expiratory Pressure:
    Evaluates respiratory muscle strength.

  • Maximum Voluntary Ventilation:
    Evaluates respiratory muscle strength over a one minute duration.

  • Provocation Study:
    Test to evaluate for asthma using medication to provoke bronchoconstriction.

  • Exercise Induced Bronchospasm Studies:
    Test to evaluate for exercise induced asthma using monitored exercise to provoke bronchoconstriction.

  • Modified Shunt Study:
    Estimates the portion of a patient’s blood flow which does not participate in effective gas exchange within the lungs.

  • Direct Laryngoscopy with Exercise:
    Test to evaluate for vocal cord dysfunction.

Before Your Test

  • Refrain from taking bronchodilator at least four hours before your test.

  • If exercise is indicated, wear comfortable loose fitting clothes and comfortable shoes for exercising on the treadmill.
  • Be prepared to tell the respiratory therapist:

    • What medications you are taking, including inhalers and nebulizers.
    • Allergies to medications.
    • Smoking history including how many years you smoked and how many packs per day.
    • Occupational history for potential exposures.

During Your Test

  • You will be sitting in a chair and breathe through a mouthpiece. The respiratory therapist will instruct you step by step throughout the tests.

After Your Test

  • You may return to your normal activity.
  • A pulmonary physician will evaluate your studies and a report will be sent to the ordering physician.

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