Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs) are diagnostic tools that provide valuable insights into the health and functionality of the respiratory system. This blog post aims to demystify PFTs, explaining what to expect during the test and emphasizing their crucial role in assessing lung health, supported by reputable sources.


What are Pulmonary Function Tests?


PFTs encompass a series of non-invasive breathing tests designed to evaluate how well the lungs function. These tests measure various aspects, including lung capacity, airflow, and gas exchange efficiency in the lungs.


What to Expect During PFTs:


  • Spirometry:

Spirometry is a common PFT that measures the amount of air you can inhale and exhale and how fast you can do so. During the test, you’ll be asked to take deep breaths and exhale forcefully into a tube connected to a spirometer.


  • Lung Volume Tests:

These tests assess the total amount of air the lungs can hold. You may be asked to breathe in a sealed booth or perform breathing maneuvers to measure lung volumes accurately..


  • Diffusion Capacity Test:

This test evaluates how effectively oxygen passes from the lungs into the bloodstream. It involves breathing in a small amount of a harmless gas and measuring how much is absorbed by the lungs.


Why PFTs Matter:


  • Diagnosis and Monitoring Lung Diseases:

PFTs are crucial in diagnosing various respiratory conditions. They are also valuable tools for monitoring disease progression and treatment effectiveness.


  • Assessing Lung Function Before Surgery:

Before certain surgeries, especially those involving the chest or lungs, PFTs are often conducted to determine baseline lung function. This helps healthcare professionals anticipate potential complications and plan for a safe procedure.


  • Evaluating Occupational Exposure:

PFTs are utilized in occupational settings to assess lung function in individuals exposed to potential respiratory hazards. This is especially important for workers in industries where exposure to pollutants or harmful substances is common..




Pulmonary Function Tests are invaluable for assessing lung health and diagnosing respiratory conditions. Understanding what to expect during these tests and recognizing their significance can empower individuals to participate actively in their respiratory care. Whether managing a chronic respiratory condition or proactively monitoring your lung health, PFTs are critical to comprehensive respiratory evaluation.

Raju Reddy MD Healthcare Blogs Footer