Pulmonary Function Lab
Please note that a referral letter is required before an appointment can be confirmed.
About our services
Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are non-invasive diagnostic tests that provide measurable feedback about the function of the lungs.
By assessing lung volume, capacity, flow rate, and gas exchange, PFTs provide information to help your doctor diagnose certain lung disorders.
The following are tests carried out in our Pulmonary Function Laboratory:
Spirometry testing is quick, non-invasive and painless. If you regularly experience breathlessness, have difficulty breathing, or are being evaluated for lung disease, spirometry should be performed. You will be asked to quietly breathe in and out through a mouthpiece.
The technician will then instruct you to rapidly fill your lungs with air and immediately blast this air out as quickly as possible back into the mouthpiece; continuing to blast the air out until the lungs are completely empty and finally, rapidly fill your lungs again to complete the test.
Lung volumes is a way of assessing total lung capacity (TLC) and residual volume (RV) in patients using helium dilution method.
You will be asked to breathe normally into a mouthpiece, and then to fully empty your lungs by gradually pushing out all the air in the lungs, before returning back to normal breathing. You will then breathe a known helium concentration for approximately two to three minutes until the air you are breathing in matches the same concentration as the air being expelled.
The test is then completed with you being asked to maximally exhale from normal breathing; then fully inhale before maximally exhaling again to complete the test.
Diffusing capacity is used to measure the ability of the lungs to transfer gas from inspired air to the red blood cells in the pulmonary capillaries.
DLCO is particularly used to evaluate various fibrosing diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis or asbestos exposure, and is also used to evaluate emphysema, CF, cardiovascular diseases, the effects of chemotherapy agents or other drugs.
During the procedure you will be asked to normally breathe on the mouthpiece until a baseline for your breathing has been reached. You will then be asked to maximally exhale from a normal breath before inhaling maximally a special mixture of gas which is then held in the lungs for approximately eight seconds before being gently exhaled back into the mouthpiece.
The expired air is then analysed by the computer.
The methacholine challenge is a test to see if you have airways sensitivity or not. Airways sensitivity may be caused by inflammation of the airways, making it difficult to breathe sometimes. Methacholine is an agent that, when inhaled, causes the airways to spasm (contract involuntarily) and narrow if asthma is present.
A trained respiratory physiologist will ask you to breathe in the methacholine, using a disposable nebulizer mouthpiece. As part of the test, you will be asked to blow into a tube that will measure the effect of this substance on your lungs. This medicine is only used to see whether you have airways sensitivity.