Pulmonary function tests are a series of tests, which evaluate how well your lungs are performing. A physician referral is required.
The Pulmonary Laboratory at Hartford Hospital
does several tests to evaluate:
- Shortness of breath
- How smoking may have affected your lungs
- A type of lung problem
- Whether breathing problems are a risk during general anesthesia or after surgery
Spirometry: Measuring the amount of air you can exhale and inhale in a certain period of time.
Diffusion: Measures how effectively your lungs move oxygen into the blood stream.
Lung Volumes: Measures how much air you can inhale or exhale and how much air remains in your lungs.
Arterial Blood Gases: Measures the amount of oxygen and the amount of carbon dioxide in your blood.
Exercised Induced Asthma: Determines if exercise causes asthmatic symptoms.
Oxygen Desaturation: The body’s oxygen level is tested at rest and with exercise to see if it decreases or if an oxygen supplement is needed.
Occupational Lung testing: Testing done to evaluate lung destruction caused by occupational working conditions in hazardous areas.
Before your test:
- Refrain from taking bronchodilator at least four hours before test time.
- If exercise is indicated, wear comfortable loose fitting clothes and sturdy shoes for exercise on the treadmill.
- Be prepared to tell the pulmonary therapist:
- What medications you are taking, including inhalers, pills, or nebulizer treatments.
- Allergies to medications and latex.
- Health problems.
- Smoking history; including how many years you smoked and how many packs per day.
- Recent illness such as, pneumonia, chest cold, tuberculosis, or bronchitis.
- Report any symptoms of shortness of breath and chest pain, arm, back, or jaw pain.
During your test:
The pulmonary therapist will coach you. You will need to sit in a chair and breathe through a mouthpiece while the therapist gives you instructions. You will wear nose clips so that you can only breathe through your mouth. If you feel tired, you will be able to take a break between the tests.
You may be asked to sit in an enclosed clear Plexiglas box for one of your tests or inhale a harmless gas mixture and hold your lungs for 10 seconds.
After your test:
- You may return to your normal activity. If you have withheld medications before testing, ask if you should take them now.
- The Medical Director of the Pulmonary Lab will evaluate your studies and a report will be sent to your primary physician who will discuss with you the report findings.