What Are the Risks?

PFTs are noninvasive tests therefore it is safe and quick for most people. However, the patient must be able to follow clear and simple directions. All procedures have some risk and risks of this procedure include:

• Dizziness during testing
• Shortness of breath
• Coughing
• Shakiness from the bronchodilator

When not to have Pulmonary Function Testing

• Recent eye, ear, brain surgery (in the last 6 weeks)
• Active Ear Infections
• Active Illness (Nausea/Vomiting)
• Chest Pain
• Cough up blood
• Pneumothorax (collapsed lung) less than 2 weeks since treatment.
• Recent Pulmonary Embolus (without treatment)
• Recent Thoracic/Abdominal or Cerebral Aneurysms (in the last 6 weeks)
• Active TB
• Unstable Cardiovascular Status/Recent Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) less than 7 days prior.

How to Prepare for Pulmonary Function Testing

Follow any other instructions your healthcare provider gives you. Also, know that your height and weight will be recorded before the test. This is done so that your results can be accurately calculated.

Avoid the following prior to testing:
• No smoking within 1 hour of testing.
• No use of rescue medications at least 12 hours before testing (except in case of an emergency or advised by your Provider).
• No alcohol or caffeine consumption within 2 hours of testing.
• No vigorous exercise within 30 minutes of testing.
• No restrictive clothing (tight clothing that restricts chest or abdomen expansion, back brace, etc.)
• No eating a large meal within 2 hours of testing.

During Pulmonary Function Testing

1. If you wear dentures, you will need to wear them during the procedure (unless instructed by the Therapist to remove them).
2. You’ll need to empty your bladder before the procedure.
3. The Respiratory Therapist will explain the test.
4. You will be sitting in a chair or standing and given a sterile mouthpiece that is attached to a spirometer.
5. A soft clip will be put on your nose. This is so all your breathing is done through your mouth, not your nose.
6. You’ll form a tight seal over the mouthpiece with your mouth. You’ll be instructed to inhale and exhale in different ways. It is very important to follow the instructions at all times.
7. You will be watched carefully during the procedure for dizziness, trouble breathing, or other problems.
8. You may be given a bronchodilator after certain tests. The tests will then be repeated several minutes later, after the bronchodilator has taken effect.

After Pulmonary Function Testing

You may be tired and/or slightly sore after the tests. Be sure to rest before leaving the office if necessary. Your healthcare provider will talk with you about your test results.