Steps to a Pulmonary Function Test
Prior to undergoing a PFT at Cochise Oncology, it’s imperative that the right preparations are in place. This may include coming off of medications for a few days, avoiding large meals, and not drinking caffeine. Your doctor can create a personalized plan at the consultation stage while also providing further instructions, such as wearing loose clothing.
The PFT itself will focus on three main examinations. Therefore, anyone undergoing the process should familiarize themselves with the following:
- Spirometry – this test is used to monitor your lungs as you breathe in and out. The assessment is completed by breathing in and out a machine via a mouthpiece. During this test, your nose will be blocked off by a nose clip for more accurate results. In some cases, patients are asked to take a medicine that opens up the airways first. Either way, the exam will use a combination of deep breathing and rapid bursts of short breaths.
- Plethysmography – this test is used to measure the lung volume. You’ll be asked to stand in a booth and breath out into a mouthpiece. The associated machine will subsequently use pressure analysis to gain an accurate diagnosis.
- Diffusion capacity – this test focuses on the function of the lung’s alveoli, which are small air sacs. The assessment is completed by breathing a range of different gases including oxygen, carbon dioxide, and helium. The aim is to see how well your lungs can differentiate those gases and transfer them to/from the bloodstream.
When Should I Consider a PFT?
Pulmonary Function Tests are used for several reasons, which is why thousands of patients benefit from them each year. If you are worried about potential symptoms of lung conditions, the PFT is a great way to investigate it. The tests can also be used to monitor chronic lung problems, test your lungs before surgery, or check your health following exposure to chemicals like asbestos.
You should also be in a fit state for the PFT. If you’ve recently had a heart attack, chest surgery, abdominal surgery, eye surgery, or have a known respiratory infection, Cochise Oncology can help you find alternative solutions.