Pulmonary Function Test

If you have been having breathing difficulties, coughing, wheezing or chest tightness, your doctor may recommend pulmonary function testing. Pulmonary function tests are performed using specific breathing maneuvers. It’s a simple and non-invasive technique to assess airway and lung function.

What is Pulmonary Function Testing?

Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) is a set of procedures designed to evaluate the functioning of the respiratory system. This examination provides crucial insights into how well the airways and lungs are working and helps healthcare professionals diagnose and manage respiratory conditions, such as asthma.

The primary goal of PFT is to assess the efficiency of the respiratory system in terms of:

  • Ventilation: Examining the air movement in and out of the lungs
  • Gas Exchange: Evaluating the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs
  • Lung Capacity: Measuring the total amount of air the lungs can hold
  • Airway Resistance: Assessing the resistance encountered by air as it moves through the airways
  • Airway Inflammation: Assessed by measuring a gas in your breath called nitric oxide

Types of Pulmonary Function Testing

  • Asthma Diagnostic Testing: Asthma diagnostic testing plays a pivotal role in evaluating pulmonary functioning by providing insights into various aspects of respiratory health
  • Lung Volumes: This measures the volume of air in the lungs during different phases of the respiratory cycle or with different maneuvers. For example, elevated Residual Volume (RV) at the end of a forceful exhalation could be an indicator of asthma.
  • Spirometry: Spirometry is a breathing test that evaluates the function of your lungs by measuring airflow.
  • DLCO: Diffusing Capacity of the lungs for carbon monoxide. This is a measurement that assesses the lungs’ ability to transfer gas to and from the inhaled air into the capillaries that line the alveoli in the lungs.
  • Exhaled Nitric Oxide: Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide (FENO), is a test approved to help assess asthma control. It measures the gas called Nitric Oxide in your breath, which is a marker of inflammation in the lungs.

What Can We Diagnose Through Pulmonary Function Testing?


Reveals airflow obstruction and bronchial hyperresponsiveness, key indicators of asthma

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Used to assess the degree of airflow limitation and obstruction the patients’ airways to diagnose COPD


Can detect patterns of reduced forced expiratory volume and an elevated ratio of residual volume to total lung capacity which can be indicative of hyper inflation and impaired lung function

Interstitial Lung Disease

Aids in diagnosing by revealing restrictive lung patterns which can indicate lung tissue damage and fibrosis

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