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Why is Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) done? How to Prepare?

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Also known as lung function tests, Pulmonary Function tests are usually recommended to measure your lungs' functioning. It consists of the effectiveness of your lungs and your breathing. Here are some of the reasons why your doctor may order a PFT test in Gurgaon-

  • Symptoms of lung disease
  • To determine whether your lungs are doing well before having surgery
  • To keep track of the status of chronic lung problems like COPD and asthma
  • If you are regularly exposed to pollution and harsh substances in the workplace or environment

Why is the PFT Test recommended?

These tests are usually recommended to ensure the good health of your lungs. If you are already suffering a lung problem or disease, this test may be required to determine if treatment is working or this condition is improving. Here are the conditions diagnosed with the PFT test-

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Respiratory illnesses
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Lung fibrosis
  • Bronchiectasis (widening and stretching of airways in the lungs)
  • Sarcoidosis (inflammation of liver, lungs, eyes, lymph nodes, skin, and other tissues)
  • Asbestosis (exposure to asbestos can cause this condition)
  • Pulmonary tumor
  • Lung cancer
  • Scleroderma
  • Weakened chest wall muscles

How to Prepare for PFT Tests?

If you are on medications for chronic bronchitis or asthma that can open up your airways, you may have to stop using them until the procedure is done. Ask your doctor if you don’t know whether you should continue your medication or stop. You cannot also take painkillers as they can affect the test results. If you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter painkiller, tell your doctor beforehand.

Don’t eat a heavy meal before going for the test. Your lungs may also have trouble inhaling correctly due to a full stomach. Also avoid caffeinated drinks and food like coffee, chocolate, and tea, before going for the test. Airways become more open due to caffeine, which also affects the test results. Your doctor may also ask you to avoid smoking around an hour before the test and refrain from strict exercise.

Also, wear loose clothing before the test because tight clothes restrict breathing. Avoid wearing jewelry as it might cause trouble in breathing. You can wear dentures to keep your mouth fitting tightly around the mouthpiece. You may delay the test if you just had an abdominal, chest, or eye surgery or heart attack until you recover properly.

What to expect during the PFT test?


It measures how much air you breathe in and breathe out in the PFT test. You will be required to sit and hold a mouthpiece in front of the machine for this test. Make sure the mouthpiece fits well, and air should pass into the machine when you breathe. A nose clip will also be given to keep the nose from breathing out. You don’t have to worry because you will get proper guidelines about breathing during the test.

You may be told to breathe in/out as quickly or as deeply as possible for a while. Then you can breathe as usual. You may also be asked to breathe in medicine, which is given to open airways. A machine will then be given to breathing in to find out the effects of medication on your lungs.

Plethysmography Test

In this test, the volume of gas or lung volume is measured. You will have to stand or sit in a booth, and a mouthpiece will be given to breathing in it. Lung volume will be checked by the doctor as the booth shows the pressure.

Diffusion capacity

In this test, doctors will find out how the small pack of air (alveoli) works. You will need to breathe in some gases like helium, oxygen, or Co2 for this pulmonary function screening. A tracer gas may also be released to breathe in once. When you breathe out, the machine will detect and check how well your lungs can transfer Co2 and oxygen to and from the bloodstream.

Is the PFT test safe?

There are some risks associated with the Pulmonary Function test, especially if you’ve had the following conditions and surgeries-

  • Heart attack
  • Eye surgery
  • Abdominal surgery
  • Chest surgery
  • Unstable heart disease
  • Severe respiratory infection

Otherwise, the Pulmonary Function Test is safe for many people. You may need to breathe in and out frequently. So, you may faint or feel dizzy. Tell your doctor if you are experiencing lightheadedness. An asthma attack may also occur if you have asthma.

Book an online appointment for pulmonary function tests at MDRC India, one of the best PFT centers in Gurgaon.

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