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Preparing for Your Pulmonary Function Test

November 11, 2020

What does this test involve?

Prior to commencing the test, tight clothing may need to be loosened and jewellery removed. Patients will be sat either in a chair or a chamber for the procedure, and will be given a nose clip to wear to ensure breathing is restricted to the mouth only. Patients will be required to tightly seal their lips to a mouthpiece attached to the spirometer, and perform various breathing exercises. These exercises only involved inhaling and exhaling at various speeds and strengths.

Depending on the test requested, patients may be required to repeat these exercises several times, and may be given a bronchodilator after certain tests have been performed. Tests using a bronchodilator may be repeated after several minutes to test the effect of the medication.

What preparation is required?

Patients should avoid the following on the day of their pulmonary function test: smoking, vigorous exercise, alcohol and caffeine consumption. You should also avoid using any inhaled medications (puffers) on the day of the test. Some patients feel breathless without taking their puffers. Please consult with your referring doctor about what medications you should and shouldn’t take, and what to do if you feel an attack of breathlessness. If you do take any inhaled mediations on the day of the test, please note the name, dose, and timing, and advise the technician when you attend.