Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are noninvasive diagnostic tests that provide measurable feedback about the function of the lungs in both adult and pediatric patients. In fact, spirometry is recommended in the Pediatric Asthma Guidelines as standard of care. By assessing lung volumes, capacities, rates of flow, and gas exchange, PFTs provide information that, when evaluated by your doctor, can help diagnosis certain lung disorders.
Spirometry is a test which measures exactly how much the bronchial tubes have narrowed. The spirometer measures the speed your lungs can be filled and emptied of air, giving an indication of how well your lungs are performing. Further, spirometry tests later on can help decide whether treatments should be continued, changed, or are no longer needed.
Having a spirometry test is straightforward. It may occasionally be tiring and make you feel a bit puffed, but usually it is not uncomfortable. It is sometimes carried out before and after inhaling a nebulized drug to measure the effect of these drugs.
Some examples of when spirometry may be recommended are:
- To diagnose lung problems if you have a persistent cough or shortness of breath.
- To diagnose or manage asthma, a long-term condition in which your airways become swollen and narrowed.
- To detect and monitor chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a group of lung conditions often associated with smoking.
- To detect cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that clogs the lungs with mucus.
- To diagnose pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of the lungs).
These medical conditions reduce the amount of air you can breathe in a specific time frame. Spirometry can also be used to measure the effectiveness of any treatments for these conditions, to determine whether they should be continued, changed, or discontinued.
Tottori Allergy & Asthma Associates proudly offers certified spirometry testing, based on current guidelines from the American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society (ATS/ERS), the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) (2–8).