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A 39-year-old member asked:

What should i expect from a pulmonary function test? what happens during a pulmonary function test? will i be awake for this and are there risks?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Internal Medicine 41 years experience
A : A pulmonary function test (often referred to as pfts) typically involves taking measurements of your lung capacity with a spirometer. This is a device which measures the volume of air in your lungs by asking you to take in as deep a breath as you can and then blow out as fast and as long as you can. From this simple maneuver, pulmonologists can accurately calculate your lung capacity and determine if there are any signs of disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (copd). Sometimes, more detailed pfts are performed, which involves obtaining further measurements of lung volumes and the ability of the lungs to absorb gases. All of these tests require cooperation with instructions regarding deep breathing and breath holding and unless you provide your maximal effort with these breathing measurements, they will be inaccurate. Since pulmonary function tests are non-invasive, they are very safe and have virtually no risk associated with them.
Dr. Dan Fisher
Internal Medicine 27 years experience
PFT: You are entirely awake and are asked to breath deeply then exhale as quickly as possible through a tube. This is repeated until you get three exhalations that are about the same. There is no real risk to this. I suppose some patients can hyperventilate and get a bit dizzy.

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Last updated Oct 3, 2016
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