Pulmonary Function Tests (PFT): Need, Risk Factors, Prepare, Results, Best Doctors or Hospitals For PFT Test in Ghaziabad or Delhi NCR
Pulmonary function tests (often abbreviated as PFT) are non-invasive tests used to assess or evaluate the complete functioning of the respiratory system including patient history, physical examination and tests of the pulmonary functions. These non-invasive tests show how well the lungs work and also identify the severity of respiratory impairment (respiratory disorders) as well as help the doctors to diagnose the problem, monitor response to treatment and can guide patient about further treatment and intervention.
Need for pulmonary function tests (PFT)
Pulmonary function tests are used to diagnose various lung diseases such as:
- Chronic bronchitis
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder)
- Damaged lung tissues
- Lung cancer
- Enlarged, stretched & thickened airways
- Scleroderma (thickening of the connective tissue)
- Weakness of chest muscles
Risk factors involved in pulmonary function tests (PFT)
Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are generally safe for a majority of the people. There may be, however certain risk factors, which are as follows:
- Asthma attack
- Shortness of breath
Conditions in which your doctor will not recommend you to undergo pulmonary function (PFT) tests include:
- If you have undergone an eye surgery recently
- If you have undergone an abdominal or chest surgery recently
- If you have certain heart conditions such as (recent) heart attack or chest pain
- Medical conditions like aneurysm (bulging blood vessels) in your belly, chest or brain
- People with respiratory infections such as tuberculosis
What actually happens during the pulmonary function tests (PFT)?
Doctors at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre, Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad will choose the test as per your health status. Each test performed has a different way of working. The various tests are as follows:
Spirometry is a common pulmonary function test used to measure the maximum amount of air you can breathe in and out. This test can also help in finding out about any serious respiratory disorders such as asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD). It is conducted using an instrument called a spirometer. During the test, the patient is asked to inhale as much air as s/he can and then immediately blow it out into the tube connecting the spirometer.
For a person on medications for asthma, this test will help the doctor to evaluate the functioning of the asthma medicines.
Body plethysmography is also known as lung or pulmonary plethysmography. It measures the amount of air you can hold in your lungs. It is a non-invasive test in which a person is asked to sit in a clear plastic booth for around 15 minutes wearing a clip on the nose. You will then be asked to breathe through your mouth against a special mouthpiece.
Your doctor may ask you to undergo body plethysmography for several reasons such as:
- It will tell your doctor how a disease like COPD or asthma will affect your lungs as well as indicate if your ongoing treatment needs to be changed.
- It will help your doctor to find out whether or not you are suffering from a restrictive disease which is reducing the amount of space in your lungs.
- It will clearly specify if your airways have narrowed. In this condition, your doctor may use medicines like bronchodilators to open up the airway.
Lung diffusion capacity
Lung diffusion capacity is a test which traces the supply of the oxygen from your lungs to the bloodstream. It helps the doctor to find out about diseases relating to blood vessels between heart and lungs and is almost similar to spirometry in which you breathe into a tube connected to a machine.
Bronchial provocation test
This medical test can help a doctor in diagnosing asthma. During the test, a patient inhales the medicine, thus making the airway narrower and then take the spirometry test. The doctor takes several readings during the test to identify the severity of the disease like asthma.
Cardiopulmonary exercise stress test
This non-invasive test measures the strength of the lung and heart in patients who may be suffering from a heart disease or lung disorder. In this test, the patient is asked to walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bicycle. Your doctor will record the heart rate as your heartbeat accelerates during the exercise.
Pulse oximetry test
Pulse oximeter is a device used to measure the level of oxygen in the blood. In this test, the doctor will clip a probe to your finger, earlobe or any part of the skin to measure the level of oxygen in the red blood cells.
Arterial blood gas test
In this test, a nurse or technician will take a blood sample from one of your arteries to measure the level of gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.
Fractional inhaled nitric oxide test
A person might have high level of nitric oxide gas in the body when s/he is suffering from certain kinds of asthma. This test measures the amount of gas present in the air that the person has exhaled.
How to prepare for a Pulmonary function test (PFT)
Here are some ways in which you can get the best results:
- Stop taking medicines before the test if asked by your doctor
- Avoid taking larger meals before the test
- Avoid smoking & consuming alcohol before the test
- Wear loose fitting clothes while going for the test
Pulmonary function test (PFT) results
- Most of the tests take around 15-30 minutes.
- Pain medicines, severe fatigue, pregnancy, stomach bloating, airway affecting medicines, etc. are some of the factors which can hamper the test results.
- A normal test result indicates that the respiratory system is working properly while if the test results are not normal, it means that the person may have a lung problem.
- In such a situation, a person must consult the doctor about the next step to take in treating the disease.
Dr. Neerav Tyagi is the best pulmonologist (lung & chest specialist) in Delhi NCR. He has an experience of more than 29 years and expertise in treating diseases like tuberculosis, asthma, bronchiectasis and pneumonia.
Dr. Brijesh Prajapat with his abundant experience, has worked for various organizations including PGIMS, Rohtak. Currently, he is working as Senior Consultant, Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre. He possesses expertise in pulmonary medicine, sleep medicine and critical care medicine.