Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT) is a complete evaluation of the respiratory system including patient history, physical examinations, chest x-ray examinations, arterial blood gas analysis, and tests of pulmonary function. The primary purpose of pulmonary function testing is to identify the severity of pulmonary impairment. Pulmonary function testing has diagnostic and therapeutic roles and helps clinicians answer some general questions about patients with lung disease.
Pulmonary function tests are done to:
- Diagnose certain types of lung disease (especially asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema)
- Find the cause of shortness of breath Measure.
- Whether exposure to contaminants at work affects lung function.
- It also can be done to assess the effect of medication
- Measure progress in disease treatment.
Spirometry measures airflow. By measuring how much air you exhale, and how quickly, spirometry can evaluate a broad range of lung diseases.
Lung volume measures the amount of air in the lungs without forcibly blowing out. Some lung diseases (such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis) can make the lungs contain too much air. Other lung diseases (such as fibrosis of the lungs etc) make the lungs scarred and smaller so that they contain too little air.
Testing the diffusion capacity (also called the DLCO) allows the doctor to estimate how well the lungs move oxygen from the air into the bloodstream.