Full lung function test

Pulmonary function test

A breathing test that measures how well your lungs are working


A lung function test measures how well your lungs are functioning. Your consultant may request this test to check if you have lung disease, measure the severity of lung disease, to see if medication will improve your breathing or to test your lung function before a procedure.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    You will be asked to sit down and breathe into a machine through a mouthpiece. A nose clip will be used to seal your nose. Your consultant will then test three different things. First they will ask you to blow air out of your lungs as quickly and for as long as you can to check the speed at which you can breathe out. You will then need to breathe in until you feel full and hold your breath. This checks how well oxygen travels through your lungs into your blood. Lastly you will need to sit in a sealed, clear box so your consultant can check the volume of air in your lungs. Changes in pressure inside the box help to determine your lung volume.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    You should allow one hour for your test and bring along a list of medications that you are taking. You should avoid eating a heavy meal, drinking alcohol, exercise and smoking directly before your test. Wear loose-fitting clothing that do not restrict your breathing.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    You will be able to go home and carry on with your day as normal. You will need to book a follow-up appointment with your consultant to go through the results.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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