Pulmonary Function Testing: How well are your lungs working?

Posted on: July 22, 2016

A Pulmonary Function Test  or “Breathing Test,” measures your lung capacity or how well the lungs are working.

Who is a candidate for a Pulmonary Function Test?

By Dr. Harlan Weinberg, MD, Medical Director of the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program and Critical Care Services at NWH at Chappaqua Crossing.

People who are experiencing shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, chest congestion, snoring, or exercise-induced breathing difficulties may need to consider the value of these breathing tests.

A breathing test, or Pulmonary Function Test is useful for all patients including children and adults with:

  • Asthma
  • Smoking –related lung disease such as COPD and bronchiectasis
  • Interstitial lung disease such as IPF or Sarcoid
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Thoracic cage disorders such as kyphosis, scoliosis, pectus, pulmonary vascular occlusive disease (pulmonary embolism, pulmonary HTN)
  • Other medical conditions affecting normal lung function.

When is Pulmonary Function Testing recommended?

  • Patients undergoing local anesthesia with conscious sedation or general anesthesia may need a pre-operative breathing test to assess adequate lung function.
  • Patients receiving chemotherapy, radiation therapy to the lung or other known medications that are toxic or damaging to the lung may also require a baseline lung function test.  A useful clinical resource for lung toxicity may be found at, www.pneumotox.com.
  • Children and adolescents who experience shortness of breath during exercise may have exercise-induced asthma.  A thorough evaluation with your physician must be performed, so that other potential diagnoses such as physical deconditioning, vocal cord dysfunction, paradoxical vocal cord movement, laryngomalacia, chest cage deformities, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, valvular heart disease, cardiac arrhythmias and exercise-induced hyperventilation are all considered.

Weinberg, (Harlan Weinberg, MD)Remember that Pulmonary Function Testing may be an initial step for the evaluation of unexplained shortness of breath or dyspnea. This testing is simple to perform.  Speak with your physician about a referral for a Pulmonary Function Test.

For more information on Pulmonary Function Testing contact us online or call 914.458.8700 Ext. 5 to schedule your appointment.