Pulmonary function tests (PFT Test) are noninvasive tests that show how well the lungs are working. The tests measure lung volume, capacity, rates of flow, and gas exchange. This information can help your healthcare provider diagnose and decide the treatment of certain lung disorders.
Humans have two lungs- Right and left. Lungs are a part of the lower respirator systems. They perform a number of functions such as Gas exchange that is, inhaling and distributing Oxygen to the body and exhaling carbondioxide, protecting the body by trapping bacteria entered with inhalation process, maintaining homoeostasis etc.
To check the performance of the lungs, there is a set of tests known as Lung Function Test or Pulmonary Function Test(PFT Test). This test consists of 6 tests namely Spirometry, Lung Volume Test, Lung Diffusion Capacity Assessment, etc. These tests measure the size & working of the lungs as well as figure out how the other gases like oxygen get out of body.
This test is used to understand and diagnose about asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other conditions that affect breathing.This test is also used to monitor the performance of your lungs & to track the treatment given to you if it is working or not.
You will be told to breathe through a pipe which will be attached to a machine (Spirometer). Your nose will be clipped so that you will be breathing through your mouth. This will be repeated for three times approx. and after that you will be given with a bronchodilator to open your lungs and again the performance is checked.
Lung Volume Test/Plethysmography:
A plethysmography test measures the volume of gas in your lungs. For this test, you’ll be told to sit or stand in a small booth and breathe into a mouthpiece. Your doctor can learn about your lung volume by measuring the pressure in the booth.
Diffusion capacity test:
This test is used to examine the small air pockets in the lungs known as the alveoli. You will be told to breathe in Oxygen, Helium or Carbon dioxide. This gives your doctor an idea about how well your lungs can transport oxygen & carbon dioxide to and fro in your body.
After the test is dose, you might feel tired if you have previously diagnosed with pulmonary disease. This procedure is noninvasive and free of risk. Your doctor will discuss the results with you shortly after the test.