A pulmonary function test (PFT) is a diagnostic test that measures lung function and respiratory health. It is a non-invasive procedure that is typically performed in a healthcare provider’s office or a respiratory laboratory. If your healthcare provider has recommended a PFT, you may be wondering what to expect during the test. Here’s what you need to know:
Before the test, your healthcare provider may ask you to avoid certain activities or medications that could affect your lung function. For example, you may be asked to avoid smoking, exercise, and certain medications for a period of time before the test. You may also be asked to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that allows you to breathe freely.
The PFT typically consists of several tests measuring various aspects of lung function. The most common test is spirometry, which measures how much air you can inhale and exhale, as well as how quickly you can do so. During this test, you will be asked to take a deep breath and blow into a small tube connected to a spirometer. You will be asked to blow out as hard and fast as you can until you can no longer exhale any more air. You may be asked to repeat the test several times to ensure accuracy.
Another test that may be performed is lung volume measurement. This test measures the total amount of air that your lungs can hold. During this test, you will be asked to breathe in and out of a machine measuring the air volume in your lungs.
Diffusion capacity is another test that may be performed. This test measures how well oxygen moves from the lungs into the blood. During this test, you will be asked to breathe in a small amount of gas, hold your breath briefly, and then exhale.
Bronchial provocation testing may also be performed. This test measures the sensitivity of the airways by exposing them to a substance that can cause them to constrict. During this test, you will be asked to inhale a small amount of a substance, such as methacholine, and then perform spirometry to measure changes in lung function.The test duration varies depending on the specific tests being performed, but it typically takes about 30-60 minutes to complete.
After the test, your healthcare provider will review the results with you and discuss any implications for your respiratory health. Further testing or treatment may be recommended if the test reveals any abnormalities.
It is important to note that PFTs are generally safe and non-invasive, but in rare cases, they can cause complications such as coughing, lightheadedness, or shortness of breath. If you experience discomfort during the test, be sure to inform your healthcare provider immediately.
A pulmonary function test is a valuable diagnostic tool that can provide important information about lung function and respiratory health. If you have been recommended for a PFT, it is important to follow any preparation instructions provided by your healthcare provider and communicate any concerns or discomfort during the test. At CoreMed Plus, we are committed to providing our patients with the highest quality care and support throughout the PFT process.