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Pulmonary Function Testing

 

Pulmonary function tests are confusing to many patients. But, as those with heart disease are usually aware of their blood pressure and cholesterol levels, the importance of knowing your numbers as they apply to pulmonary function tests (PFTs) and COPD is commonly overlooked.

Knowing your numbers is just another way for you to be your own patient advocate when it comes to your health. It also gives you a method of comparison to determine how well you are responding to treatment and if your disease is progressing.

 

Purpose of Pulmonary Function Tests

In the diagnosis of COPD, pulmonary function tests are performed to assess lung function and determine the degree of damage to the lungs. Along with patient history, lung imaging studies and open lung biopsy, PFTs have become important for doctors in the evaluation of respiratory health.

 

Pulmonary function tests can be used for a number of reasons:

  • Screening for the existence of lung diseases
  • Determining the patient's condition prior to surgery to assess the risk of respiratory complications after surgery.
  • Evaluating the ability for a patient to be weaned from a ventilator
  • Assessing the progression of lung disease and the effectiveness of treatment