PFT - Pulmonary Function Tests

Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are non-invasive tests that show how well the lungs are working. The tests measure lung volume, capacity, rates of flow, and gas exchange. This information can help your healthcare provider diagnose and decide the treatment of certain lung disorders.

Lung function tests can be used to:

  • Compare your lung function with known standards that show how well your lungs should be working.
  • Measure the effect of chronic diseases like asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), or cystic fibrosis on lung function.
  • Identify early changes in lung function that might show a need for a change in treatment.
  • Detect narrowing in the airways.
  • Decide if a medicine (such as a bronchodilator) could be helpful to use.
  • Show whether exposure to substances in your home or workplace has harmed your lungs.
  • Determine your ability to tolerate surgery and medical procedures.


A physician may recommend an exercise stress test to:

  • Asthma
  • Allergies.
  • Chronic bronchitis.
  • Respiratory infections.
  • Lung fibrosis.
  • Bronchiectasis, which is a condition in which the airways in the lungs stretch and widen.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which used to be called "emphysema".
  • Asbestosis, which is a condition caused by exposure to asbestos.
  • Sarcoidosis, which is an inflammation of your lungs, liver, lymph nodes, eyes, skin, or other tissues.
  • Scleroderma, which is a disease that affects your connective tissue.
  • Pulmonary tumor.
  • Lung cancer.

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