Pulmonary Function Testing

Pulmonary function testing is a noninvasive way to test how well the lungs are working. It is used to help determine if someone can have surgery to remove a lung tumor.

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To schedule an appointment, please call the UC Lung Cancer team at 513-585-UCCC.

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Answers to Your Pulmonary Function Testing Questions

Pulmonary function testing is a noninvasive test used to assess how well the lungs are working as it relates to:

  •  How much air can be moved in and out of the lungs.

  • How fast the air in the lungs can be moved in and out.

  • Stiffness of the lungs and chest wall.

  • How well the lungs take up oxygen and remove carbon dioxide.

  • How the lungs respond to medication or therapy procedures.

Pulmonary function testing is used to help determine if someone can undergo surgery to remove the lung tumor. This is especially important in older patients, patients with lung disease such as emphysema, or patients with a smoking history. Your results are compared to what is expected based on your age, height and sex.

The most important results from the pulmonary function testing are:

  • FEV1 (forced expiratory value in 1 second): The amount of air expired in the first second.

  • DLCO (diffusing capacity of carbon monoxide): How well oxygen gets into the blood.

Spirometry is the most commonly performed lung function test. It measures how much and how quickly you can move air out of the lungs. For this test, you breathe into a mouthpiece attached to a recording device (spirometer). You may also sit or stand in a box that looks like a telephone booth.

Preparing for your pulmonary function test:

  • Do not smoke for six hours before testing.

  • Do not eat heavy meals prior to testing.

  • Do not drink alcohol after midnight the night before testing.

  • Do not use an inhaler eight hours before testing.

  • Do not use a long-acting inhaler (such as Symbicort, Advair, Spiriva, etc.) 24 hours before testing.

  • Follow any instructions given to you by your physician or testing center.

Should you have any questions or concerns about your pulmonary function test, please call the Pulmonary Function Test Department at 513-584-0488, option 6.

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Our Lung Cancer Center participates in National Cancer Institute-sponsored cooperative group trials, industry-sponsored clinical research studies and UC investigator-initiated clinical trials to test promising new lung cancer therapies.

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