A Comprehensive Lung Function Test includes a variety of tests that measure lung volumes, ventilation and how well oxygen moves from the lungs to the vascular system. This assessment of the airways and lung tissue function aids in the identification of the type, severity and progress of respiratory disease.
The initial part of the test involves measuring the volume of air that can be breathed in and out. The test involves having a nose peg on to block air flow from the nose while breathing through the mouth. You will be instructed to breathe normally through a mouthpiece, then to take a big breath in to fill your lungs, then blast it out hard and fast to empty.
You may also be given a bronchodilator such as Ventolin to measure the effects on your lungs and help determine any limitation to air flow in your airways. The second part of the test measures the diffusion of oxygen through the lungs. The test involves breathing normally on the mouth piece, then emptying your lungs, a big breath in of an air mixture, holding it for six seconds then gently blowing out a sample of air for the machine to analyse.
The third part of the test measures your total lung capacity and involves sitting in an enclosed booth. It involves having your mouth on the mouthpiece and performing a panting manoeuvre under instruction. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask one of our friendly technicians.
What are the risks?
The Lung Function Test is generally a safe and non-invasive procedure. However it does require maximal effort, co-operation and some co-ordination. It is not unusual to experience temporary breathlessness, oxygen desaturation, sensation of fainting, chest pain, cough or even induced bronchospasm in patients with poorly controlled asthma.
Part of the test can generate high pressures in the chest which can be transmitted to vascular, abdominal and other body compartments, so there are circumstances when the test should be delayed as listed below.
The minimum patient age for this test is 12 years. There are some other contraindications associated with a Spirometry test which the CRS team will discuss with you before your test.
What happens next?
Upon completion of the procedure, the test results will be formulated and sent to your referring doctor and any additional doctor specified by you. You will need to arrange a follow up appointment with your referring doctor to discuss the results.