Pulmonary function test are a broad range of tests that measure how well the lungs take in and exhale air and how efficiently they transfer oxygen into the blood.
Spirometry measures how well the lungs exhale. The information gathered during this test is useful in diagnosing certain types of lung disorders, but is most useful when assessing for obstructive lung diseases (especially asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD).
Lung volume measurement detects restrictive lung diseases. In this set of diseases, a person cannot inhale a normal volume of air. Restrictive lung diseases may be caused by inflammation or scarring of the lung tissue (interstitial lung disease) or by abnormalities of the muscles or skeleton of the chest wall.
Testing the diffusion capacity (also called the DLCO) permits an estimate of how efficiently the lungs transfer oxygen from the air into the bloodstream.
Understand Pulmonary Function Test with this clear explanation from Dr. Roger Seheult of http://www.medcram.com. This is video 1 of 5 on pulmonary function testing.
Speaker: Roger Seheult, MD
Clinical and Exam Preparation Instructor
Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine.
Recommended Audience: Health care professionals and medical students: including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, respiratory therapists, EMT and paramedics, and many others. Review for USMLE, MCAT, PANCE, NCLEX, NAPLEX, NDBE, RN, RT, MD, DO, PA, NP school and board examinations.
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