Pulmonary function testing (PFT) is a complete evaluation of the lungs including patient history, physical examinations, and tests of pulmonary function. The primary purpose of pulmonary function testing is to identify the severity of pulmonary problem .Pulmonary function testing has diagnostic and therapeutic roles and helps clinicians answer some general questions about patients with lung disease. PFTs are normally performed by a respiratory therapist, respiratory physiologist, physiotherapist, pulmonologist, and/or general practitioner.
Pulmonary function testing is a diagnostic and management tool used for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Chronic shortness of breath
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Restrictive lung disease
- Preoperative testing
- Impairment or disability
- Early morning wheezing
Spirometry includes tests of pulmonary mechanics – measurements of FVC, FEV1, FEF values, forced inspiratory flow rates (FIFs), and MVV. Measuring pulmonary mechanics assesses the ability of the lungs to move huge volumes of air quickly through the airways to identify airway obstruction.
The measurements taken by the spirometry device are used to generate a graph that can help to assess lung conditions such as: asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Physicians may also use the test results to diagnose bronchial hyperresponsiveness to exercise, cold air, or pharmaceutical agents.