Spirometry Testing and Pulmonary Diagnostics
Pulmonary Diagnostics Overview
Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are non-painful examinations that indicate how well the patient’s lungs function. PFTs measure lung volume, the capacity of air, rates of flow, and gas exchange. This information is essential for doctors to diagnose lung problems and determine the proper course of treatment.
Two main disorders can hurt lung functioning and must be treated:
- Obstructive: When the air has trouble flowing out of the lungs due to resistance in the airway, causing a decreased flow of air.
- Restrictive: This is a condition when lung tissue and/or chest muscles can’t expand to accomodate the needed air for a person’s body. This lower lung volume can cause major problems with proper body functioning.
PFTs are often used to check lung function before planned surgery or other procedures in patients who have lung or heart problems, are smokers or are experiencing similar health conditions. Another use of PFTs is to assess treatment for asthma, emphysema, and other chronic lung problems.
A spirometer is a device with a mouthpiece that measures air intake when breathed into as a preliminary test to screen the lung’s function. This screening test can help to determine further advanced testing.