What is a Pulmonary Function Test and/or Pulmonary Rehab?

Pulmonary function testing may involve one or several tests of your lungs including spirometry, lung volumes, diffusion testing, and oxygen saturation measurement by oximetry or blood gas sampling. These are tests which determine how well your lungs are functioning and most involve blowing into a tube with your nose plugged. We measure the volume, flow, and oxygen transfer capabilities of your lungs. Pulmonary function testing is very safe. It helps to formalize a diagnosis which can lead to optimizing treatment strategies.

Why did my doctor order this test?

There are many lung disorders, the most common being asthma, COPD / emphysema, bronchitis, and lung fibrosis. There are also heart, muscle, and arthritic diseases which can affect the lungs. People can have symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, and wheeziness.

How should I prepare for this test?

  • Wear loose fitting clothing, no tight bras or corsets.
  • If you are able to, please do not take your inhalers/puffers for four hours before the test.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes before your test time so that you can register with our receptionist.
  • You can eat before this test, but a huge meal right before testing isn’t recommended!
  • Please do not smoke or drink coffee prior to the test.
  • Bring a list of your medications and allergies.
  • Be prepared to give a brief history of your health and symptoms.
  • If you do not speak English, please bring a family member with you who can interpret.
  • Parents of young children (under 16 years of age) will be required to stay with their child for the test.
  • If you think you may have an infectious disease, please let the technologist know before testing.

How long will the test take?

The test lasts approximately 45 minutes to one hour. After the majority of breathing tests are performed our patients are given up to four puffs (400 mcg) of Ventolin. Approximately 10 minutes later the therapist will have you retry the first breathing test. This is a simple way of determining if the Ventolin has had an effect on your breathing.

Why should I have this test done at the York Region Pulmonary Function Testing Centre?

At YRPFT, we strive for quality testing by qualified technologists. We follow the guidelines of the American Thoracic Society strictly and perform the tests on state-of-the-art equipment. All breathing tests are interpreted by a Respirologist. This is a physician that specializes in breathing problems.

When will I get the results?

Please be aware that the technologist is not allowed to give you the results of your pulmonary function test. The report will be interpreted by a Respirologist on staff or by your own Respirologist. A copy will then be sent to your family doctor within 1 – 2 days.