Pulmonary Function Testing

Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are a series of non-invasive breathing tests that measure the function of the lungs. This test determines how much air your lungs can hold, how quickly you can move air in and out of your lungs, and how well your lungs put oxygen into and remove carbon dioxide from your blood. The tests can diagnose lung diseases, measure the severity of lung problems, and check to see how well treatment for a lung disease is working.

You should expect the test to take up to 45 minutes.  Some medications can interfere with the test and should not be used before your appointment.  You can continue with your medications if you do not think you can go without them.  Inform the respiratory therapist that you have taken your medications before starting your test.

If possible, do not take:
Short-acting bronchodilators (e.g. Berotec Ventolin, Atrovent, Berotec, Airomir) for at least 6 hours prior to the start of your test.
Long-acting bronchodilators (e.g. Serevent, Oxeze, Foradil, Advair or Symbicort.) for at least 18 hours prior to the start of your test.

Spiriva (Tiotropium) is also a long-acting bronchodilator but should be withheld for 24 hours.

Also, please refrain from drinking caffeinated beverages prior to your pulmonary function test.  In addition, please refrain from smoking one hour prior to the test

You can continue to take:
Anti-inflammatory medications:
(e.g. Beclovent, Qvar, Vanceril, Bronalide, Pulmicort, Prednisone, Flovent

Your family physician will receive the results of your test(s) within two business days.

The following video is a demonstration of a portion of a pulmonary function test.  Pulmonary function tests take on average approximately 45 minutes to complete.



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