Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are lung tests.  They show your doctor how well your lungs are working, allowing your doctor to evaluate how your lung function may impact your heart health.

If you believe you need a PFT, find a St. Louis Heart and Vascular location near you and give them a call to make an appointment.

Available at These Locations

Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs) Q&A

Why are Pulmonary Function Tests done?

Some lung conditions have similar symptoms to heart failure and lung disease might emerge at the same time as heart failure.  Your cardiologist may order a pulmonary function test to rule out a problem with your lungs as he or she is evaluating the extent or presence of heart failure.  You need the right diagnosis to get the right treatment.

What Happens During Pulmonary Function Tests?

Spirometry:  This is one of the most common pulmonary function tests.  Spirometry measures how much air you can breathe in and out.  It also measures how fast you can empty the air out of your lungs.  During the test, you’ll inhale as much air as you can.  Then, you’ll quickly exhale as much air as you can through a tube connected to a spirometer machine.  The test measures the maximum air you can exhale after inhaling deeply, indicating if you’re less able to breathe normally.

Lung Diffusion Capacity:  A lung diffusion capacity test measure how well oxygen moves from your lungs into your blood.  The test is similar to spirometry – you breathe into a tube attached to a machine.  The test can help diagnose a disease of the blood vessels between your heart and lungs.

How Do I Prepare for a Pulmonary Function Test?

Your doctor will explain the test and what you can expect.  Ask them any questions you have.  They may also tell you to wear loose clothing and comfortable shoes.

For the best results:

  • Take your medications before your test unless your doctor tells you not to.
  • Don’t smoke before the test; ask your doctor how long before the test you should stop.
  • If you use a short-acting inhaler, do not use for 6 to 8 hours before the test.
  • Don’t drink alcohol at least 4 hours before the test.
  • Don’t drink caffeine at least 2 hours before the test.
  • Don’t eat a large meal at least 2 hours before the test.
  • Don’t do any hard exercise at least 30 minutes before the test.

Risks and Test Results

Most PFTs take 30 to 45 minutes.  You may be tired afterward.  Your medical team will give you time to rest.  Then, you can resume your normal activities.  Your doctor will go over your test results after they have been interpreted.

Pulmonary function tests are usually safe.  Risks include:

  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Asthma attack

Where Does St. Louis Heart and Vascular Offer Pulmonary Function Testing?

St. Louis Heart and Vascular offers echocardiograms at the following locations:

  • Christian Hospital / North County
  • Granite City
  • Bridgeton

Call us today at (314) 741-0911 to make an appointment!