On the day of your consultation:
Your family physician or specialist has requested for you to visit one of our certified Respirologist in our clinic to evaluate your lung or breathing concerns.
If this is your first time visiting us, be prepared that your breathing test along with your consultation will last between 45 to 60 minutes.
Please bring your Alberta Health Care card along with your current list of medications.
A pulmonary function test is a series of tests that measure your lung function, find out how well you move air in and out of your lungs and how well oxygen enters your body. The tests provide information about the amount of air a person’s lungs can hold, and how effectively the lungs work.
A physician requests a pulmonary function test when a person has shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing to diagnose or identify respiratory conditions.
Lung function tests can be used to:
- Compare your lung function with known standards that show how well your lungs should be working.
- Measure the effect of chronic diseases like Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD), or Cystic Fibrosis on lung function.
- Identify early changes in lung function that might show a need for a change in treatment.
- Detect narrowing in the airways.
- Decide if medicine (such as a bronchodilator or inhaler) could be helpful to use.
- Show whether exposure to substances in your home or workplace have harmed your lungs.
- Determine your ability to tolerate surgery and medical procedures.
- Abnormal blood flow to the lungs, such as pulmonary hypertension.
What should you know before taking these tests?
- You may be asked not to take your breathing medicines before these tests.
- Instructions will be given to you by a qualified Respiratory Therapist on how to do these tests. If you do not understand them, ask the technician to repeat them.
- It takes effort to do these tests and you may become tired. This is expected.
- If you become light-headed or dizzy during this test, immediately stop blowing and let the Respiratory Therapist know.
- It usually takes approximately 30 minutes to complete this test.
- If you have a cold or flu, let the Respiratory Therapist know because they may want to reschedule your test.
- If you have difficulty with closed spaces (claustrophobia), let the Respiratory Therapist know in case one of the tests involves being enclosed.
- After your pulmonary function testing is over, you may see one of the Respirology specialist to discuss your symptoms and the results of your test. You can also return to your normal activities.
To get the most accurate results from your breathing tests, we do recommend the following:
1. If you smoke, do not smoke for at least 4 hours before the test.
2. Do not drink alcohol for at least 4 hours before the test.
3. Do not exercise 30 minutes before the test.
4. Do not wear tight clothing that makes it difficult to take a deep breath.
5. Do not eat a large meal 2 hours before the test.
6. Do not take inhalers or lung medicines for the following times:
Short-acting inhaled or oral such as bronchodilators (Salbutamol, Ventolin, Airomir, Bricanyl, Atrovent, or Combivent) – 8 hours
Long-acting inhaled or oral bronchodilators (Advair, Alvesco, Flovent, Oxeze, Pulmicort, QVAR, Seebre, Serevent, Spiriva, Symbicort, Ultibro or Zenhale) – 24 hours
7. If you are on oxygen, you will usually be asked to be off oxygen for a few minutes before taking this test.