Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Bronchitis Chronic Pulmonary Function Test

An evaluation of chronic bronchitis will often include pulmonary function testing.

Pulmonary Function Testing
Pulmonary function tests include a variety of special lung tests. They are also called PFTs or spirometry. PFTs measure the movement of air in and out of the lungs. Using these test results, a doctor can assess a person's overall lung function.

PFTs are also used to document the progression or extent of certain lung diseases. They can show a therapeutic response to a medication or treatment. PFTs can evaluate a patient's lungs prior to surgery and monitor workers exposed to substances that are toxic to the lungs.

In this test, the patient breathes into a mouthpiece. The PFT machine measures the amount of air inhaled or exhaled in a fixed period of time. The maximum speed of breathing out is measured. This is called Peak Expiratory Flow or, PEF. Oxygen saturations are usually measured along with PFTs. A simple version of this test is available as a personal peak flow meter.

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Last Updated: Dec 7, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Bronchitis Chronic References
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