The experts at Blue Ridge Medical Group are here to help with a full range of care, including pulmonary function tests (PFTS). These non-invasive exams measure how well your lungs work, so we can create a plan to help you breathe easy again.
Pulmonary function tests are a group of tests that assess your ability to breathe and how capable your lungs are in delivering oxygen to the rest of your body.
These tests are recommended for a variety of reasons, including:
- Part of a routine physical, especially if you smoke or have a history of smoking
- Part of a work physical, if you’re regularly exposed to certain substances
- To help diagnose lung conditions, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- To assess difficulty breathing from a respiratory infection or chest injury
- To determine if existing lung disease is progressing or responding to treatment
- To check if you have side effects from certain medicines that can affect breathing
- To test your lung function before surgery
Types of Tests
Depending on your specific needs, your pulmonologist at Blue Ridge Medical Group may perform one or a combination of pulmonary function tests, each using a specially fitted mouthpiece,
- Spirometry: Measures the amount of air you breathe in and out, and how fast. You’ll sit in front of a machine to do several breathing exercises. You may breathe in a medicine that helps relax the muscles around the airway, making it easier to exhale.
- Plethysmography test: Measures the amount of air you can hold in your lungs. You’ll sit or stand in a small booth for your breathing tests.
- Diffusion capacity test: Measures how well the oxygen in your lungs can move to the bloodstream. You’ll breathe in certain gases such as oxygen, helium, or carbon dioxide.
Recovery and Follow-Up Care
All PFTS are generally quick and safe for most people. Before your procedure, your doctor will provide special instructions and discuss any concerns. Your comfort is our priority – our respiratory technologists will closely monitor you during and after for dizziness, shortness of breath or any other problems.
If you have a history of lung or breathing difficulty, you may be tired after the tests. You’ll have the chance to rest afterward until you’re comfortable enough to go home. Your doctor will also talk with you about your results and the next steps for treatment if needed.