Lung volume tests

Helium dilation and body plethysmography

We offer various tests to measure the size of your lungs, including helium dilation and body plethysmography

What are lung volume tests?

If you've been experiencing breathing problems, your GP may ask you to have a lung volume test to get to the root of the problem. At HCA UK, we offer various tests to measure the size of your lungs, including helium dilation and body plethysmography.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    Helium dilation

    We'll ask you to sit down and breathe normally into a monitoring device for two to five minutes . We'll then ask you to wear a nose clip and breathe in a gas containing helium.

    Body plethysmography

    We'll ask you to sit in a special cubicle. Your consultant physiologist will give you instructions through an intercom. They'll ask you to breathe into a mouthpiece, with your palms on your cheeks. They'll then ask you to pant in and out. You'll be asked to perform this process three to four times.

    For both tests, you'll be asked to breathe in deeply and blow out as much as possible to finish.

  • How to prepare icon plus

    Whether you're having a helium dilation or body plethysmography, we'll explain how to prepare for the test and what's involved. They normally take 30 to 90 minutes and you should be able to go home straight after. Part of this time may involve waiting while any medication you are given takes effect.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    After having your helium dilation or body plethysmography, your consultant physiologist will explain the results of the test to you. The tests usually take less than 90 minutes and you should be able to go home straight away.

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020 7079 4344
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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