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Pulmonary Function Test (PFT)
When it comes to pulmonary topics, it can be easy to get confused by all the conditions and tests that exist out there. There are hundreds of pulmonary conditions, and each one has different tests used to diagnose it and varying methods of treatment. Lots of patients want to better understand these conditions, but many of them are too shy to really question their pulmonologist about the purpose of each pulmonary fiction test prescribed.
Luckily, there are lots of ways to educate yourself about these tests and conditions online. By the end of this, we hope you’ll find yourself enlightened, educated, and comfortable discussing PFT’s with your doctor.
What are the types of Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs)?
Based on your individual condition, a pulmonologist may order one or more of the following tests:
A Spirometry measures the amount of air you inhale and exhale, as well as the flow of air.
This test shows the air volume in your lungs.
The DLCO measures the ability of your lungs to transfer gas from inhaled air to blood in pulmonary capillaries.
MAXIMAL VOLUNTARY VENTILATION
This test measures the amount of air you can inhale and exhale in one minute.
OXYGEN TITRATION TEST
The oxygen titration test identifies the amount of oxygen a patient needs, or tests if a patient on oxygen support is receiving the right amount of oxygen.
SIX-MINUTE WALK TEST
This test identifies how quickly you can walk on a flat surface for 6 minutes and measures your ability to perform daily tasks.
METHACHOLINE CHALLENGE TEST
The Methacholine Challenge Test is used for asthma diagnosis in particular and helps to identify asthma or asthma-like conditions using reactive triggers.
CARDIOPULMONARY EXERCISE TESTING
This test measures the patient’s exercise capacity and helps to evaluate the causes of breath shortness or low exercise ability.
FRACTIONAL EXHALED NITRIC OXIDE
This test is mostly used for allergic asthma diagnosis; however, it can also be used for other conditions.
IMPULSE OSCILLATION OR FORCED OSCILLATION TESTING
This test measures your airways and stiffness in your lungs.
HIGH ALTITUDE SIMULATION TESTING
High altitude simulation testing is used for calculating your blood oxygen levels in high altitudes.
What is a Pulmonary Function Test (PFT)?
Pulmonary function test (PFT) is a term used for a number of tests that identify your lung function and the ability of your lungs to deliver oxygen to other organs. PFT’s are non-invasive procedures that measure a patient’s lung volume and capacity, flow rates, and gas exchange.
Your pulmonologist may order any of the different pulmonary function tests in order to give you a precise diagnosis on your condition and choose the best treatment plan. In addition, if you have an existing condition, your pulmonologist will order various pulmonary function tests regularly to see whether your body is responding to the treatment.