Pulmonary Function Test

Original Editor - Uchechukwu Chukwuemeka

Top Contributors - Uchechukwu Chukwuemeka and Karen Wilson  

Description

Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are routinely used in patients with chronic respiratory disorders to monitor lung indices. They are performed to assess respiratory function and to determine the extent of dysfunction. Such tests include measurements of lung volumes, ventilatory function, and the mechanics of breathing, diffusion, and gas exchange[1]. PFTs are useful in following the course of a patient with an established respiratory disease and assessing the response to therapy. They are useful as screening tests in potentially hazardous industries, such as coal mining and those that involve exposure to asbestos and other noxious fumes, dusts, or gases. They are useful for screening patients scheduled for thoracic and upper abdominal surgery, and symptomatic patients with a history suggesting high risk.

Indication

Investigation of a patient with sign/symptoms that shows respiratory problems. e.g. wheezing, coughing, crackles and abnormal chest xray e.t.c.

Monitoring of patients with respiratory condition for disease progression and response to treatment.

Evaluation of degree of cardio-respiratory disability

Preoperative evaluation for patient that will undergo thoracic and abdominal surgery

Montoring of patients at risk of pulmonary complications

Routine assessment for individual with high exposure to pulmonary toxic agent e.g abestos, dust and fumes

Contraindication

Myocardial Infarction in the last month

Unstable Angina

Recent thoracic and abdominal surgeries

Recent Opthalmic surgery

Abdominal, thoracic and cerebral Aureysms

Active Hemoptysis

Pneumothorax

Different Pulmonary Function Tests

  1. Spirometry
  2. Forced Spiometry which include FVC, FEV1, and FVC/FEV1
  3. Techniques for measuring Residual volume (RV) and Functional residual capacity (FRC): Nitrogen Washout Technique, Helium Dilution Technique and Body Plethysmography
  4. Diffusing Capacity of Carbon monoxide (DLCo) Oxygen
  5. Peak Expiratory flow Meter Reading to generate a flow volume loop.
  6. Arterial Blood Gas Analysis.
  7. Bronchodilator Test
  8. Cardiorespiratory Exercise Test[2]
  9. Oximetry
  10. Respiratory Muscle Function Test

Refeences

  1. Ranu H, Wilde M, Madden B.Pulmonary Function Tests. Ulster Med J. 2011; 80(2): 84–90
  2. Guazzi M, Bandera F, Ozemek C, Systrom D, Arena R.Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing; What Is its Value?Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2017;70(13) DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.08.012