A pulmonary function test (PFT) is a breathing test that shows your doctor how well your lungs are working. Your doctor may have you do this test if you are coughing, wheezing or having shortness of breath. Another reason to have a PFT completed is to monitor the progress of your asthma.
PFTs are administered by a respiratory therapist/specialist. The therapist will ask you to take a big, deep breath and blow into a tube as hard as you can until you have blown as much air out of your lungs as possible. The tube is connected to a computer that measures the amount of air blown out and how fast you blow it out. The measurement makes a picture on the computer that looks like a mountain. We call this mountain a Flow Volume Curve. By looking at the curve, the doctors can tell how well your lungs are doing.
An aerosol treatment may also be given with another PFT following to look for improvement.
Block #4 Activity
At your next clinic appointment, ask for a copy of your Pulmonary Function Tests. Print off these questions, discuss them with your health care team and place in your SAIL binder.
1. How were your tests before the bronchodilator?
2. Did you get a bronchodilator?
How were the tests after the bronchodilator?
Did your pulmonary doctor make any changes in your medication plan based on these test results?