Pulmonary Function

Pulmonary Function

Pulmonary function testing involves a series of tests that measure how well your lungs function.

Through this series of tests we can determine how well you breathe, and how effective your lungs are at delivering oxygen to the rest of your body. These tests are used for a variety of purposes but most often to investigate conditions such as asthma, COPD, lung disease, or chronic cough.

Preparing for your test

Remember to bring:

  • Photo ID
  • Hospital card

48 Hours before your appointment we ask that you stop using long-acting bronchodilators such as Spiriva, Seebri, Tudorza, Incruse, Onbrez, Serevent, Anoro, Duaklir, Inspiolto, and Ultibro.

12 Hours before your appointment we ask that you stop using inhaled corticosteroids such as Symbicort, Advair, Zenhale, Breo, Flovent, Alvesco, and Pulmicort.

4 Hours before your appointment we ask that you refrain from smoking, drinking caffeine and using any short-acting bronchodialtors such as Ventolin, Atrovent, Bricanyl, Airomir and Combivent.

If you do use any of the above medications prior to testing DO NOT CANCEL your test. Simply notify the Respiratory Therapist performing your testing and this information will be incorporated into the interpretation for your Physician.

At the appointment

We ask that you wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and bring a list of all current medications. The test will take between 30 - 60 minutes.

The test will be performed by a respiratory therapist - a medical professional with specialized training in lung testing.

Test Information

Spirometry (20 - 30 Minutes)

This test determines how quickly air can move in and out of the lungs based on a normal range for age, weight, gender. Spirometry is the most common type of pulmonary function testing. You will be asked to take a deep breath in and then blow out all of the air into a tube connected to a machine called a spirometer. This is done three times, with a rest between each attempt to ensure we're getting an accurate result. It can be tricky to do the test correctly so expect that one of our staff will work with you initially to make sure it's being done properly. After doing the first test out respiratory therapist may administer a dose of a bronchodilator (which enables better breathing) and the test will be repeated.

Lung Volume Testing (15 Minutes)

This test helps us determine how much air is left in your lungs after you take a deep breath and how much air is left in your lungs after breathing out as much as you can. To do the test you'll be asked to sit in a box with large windows (think of a telephone booth). You will be asked to wear a nose clip and we will instruct you on how to breathe through the mouthpiece. If you have difficulty in small spaces or suffer from claustrophobia please advise us ahead of time.