If you or someone you love (age 5 and older) is having lung problems, a physician may recommend a pulmonary function test (PFT) at Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital. Our pulmonary function lab offers several different types of PFTs that measure how well your lungs work, including your ability to breathe and how well your lungs send oxygen throughout the body. We test for lung function, airway reactivity, asthma and more.
Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs)
PFTs are performed to diagnose and monitor different types of lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis among others. Test times may be from 20 minutes for a simple spirometry to two hours for more extensive testing. Wear loose and comfortable fitting clothes.
Testing is performed while you sit in a chair with a clip on your nose to keep you from exhaling through the nose. It is necessary to be able to measure the whole volume of air in the lungs for accurate results. On some parts of the test, you will be asked to take very deep breaths and exhale hard and fast; other tests require rapid shallow breathing. Still, another test requires holding your breath for up to ten seconds. Each of these tests may be repeated two or more times to document consistent patient effort.
In most cases, the respiratory therapist will administer an aerosol breathing treatment with a medication designed to dilate the breathing passages in the lungs. After a rest period of 10 to 30 minutes, part of the test will be repeated to check for airway reactivity.
Your doctor may send you back over time for repeat testing to monitor your progress and medications depending on how your lung function is changing. PFTs are also used to determine your ability to safely undergo anesthesia during surgery, as well as to monitor people who work in occupations where they are exposed to gases and particulates.
Reasons to Reschedule a PFT
If you have any of the following problems or conditions, you should probably reschedule your test:
- Acute illness
- Severe cold or cough
- Influenza (flu)
- Ear infection within last three to four weeks
- Surgery within the past month
It is ideal to avoid smoking and use shorter-acting breathing medication - such as albuterol, Proventil, ProAir, Ventolin, ipratropium bromide, Atrovent, Xopenex - six hours prior to testing.
At Pulmonary Diagnostics, we are able to test anyone from age five to adult. The exception is a test called a Methacholine/Bronchial Challenge. You must be at least 15 years of age for this test, which is used to diagnose asthma or reactive airway disease. You will inhale a medication in increasing strengths to test for airway reactivity.
Pulmonary Stress Tests
Pulmonary stress tests are used to diagnose pulmonary and cardiac fitness by using a stationary bike ergometer along with a face mask to collect inspired and expired gases to aid in the diagnosis of lung function and overall fitness level. You must also be at least 15 years of age to take a pulmonary stress test.
The Six-Minute Walk test is designed to aid patients in qualifying for home oxygen use. You will walk for a total of six minutes with a monitor on your finger to record the level of oxygen in the blood to make sure it stays at a safe level for the various organs to function properly.
Therapy for those with chronic lung disease.
In 2007, Mercy Hospital’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation became the first program in Stark County to be certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR).
The goal of Pulmonary Rehabilitation is to improve the quality of life for individuals with chronic lung disease. The goal is achieved through a multi-disciplinary approach to education, breathing retraining, emotional support and graded exercise conditioning in coordination with your personal physician.
Pulmonary Rehabilitation assists individuals with chronic lung disease in maintaining optimal health through self-care. This can be achieved through learning more about lung disease. Phase 1 consists of educational programs about lung disease and may also include further evaluation and diagnostic testing, as indicated.
During Phase 1 an individualized treatment plan will be developed during the initial one-on-one consultation.
Phase 2 is a comprehensive program designed to improve the overall function of individuals with chronic lung disease using a multi-disciplinary approach that includes education, nutritional counseling, breathing retraining, emotional support and a graded exercise program conducted under the supervision of health professionals.
Phase 2 is conducted in a class setting with other individuals that have various types of pulmonary disease. We find that the emotional support from individuals going through similar situations can be comforting and provide knowledge from a firsthand perspective.
Pulmonary Rehabilitation is an ongoing program open to graduates of a Phase 2 program with a physician referral. Phase 3 participants will follow an individualized program designed to maintain function that may be performed on your own with periodic evaluations or in a group program under supervision of health care professionals.
Pulmonary Support Group
Pulmonary Support Group is open to any current and past patients of Mercy Hospital’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation program. Through continuing education and recreational activities, our Pulmonary Support Group will help individuals with chronic lung disease cope more effectively with their disease. Events are planned and designed to help individuals with lung disease decrease their anxiety and shortness of breath in public while having fun at the same time. Although there is no fee, there may be a cost for recreational activities.
Pulmonary Rehabilitation Quiz
To see if you could benefit from joining a rehabilitation program for those with lung disease or lung problems, take the following short quiz.
- Do you experience shortness of breath with exertion?
- Do you experience shortness of breath at rest?
- Does your shortness of breath make you ill at ease in public places?
- Do you use oxygen at home?
- Has your physician informed you that you have asthma, emphysema or chronic bronchitis?
- Do you have to stop and ‘catch your wind’‚? after climbing a flight of stairs?
- Does your breathing interfere with your ability to do normal daily activities?
- Do you frequently wheeze and cough?
- Would you enjoy learning more about lung disease and ways to improve your ability to do normal activities?
- Would you enjoy being a part of a structured program that includes educational sessions, exercise groups, outings and events specially designed for those with lung problems?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions you could benefit from joining our program, which is located at Mercy Hospital, on the first floor of Mercy Hall, directly behind the main parking deck.
There are a number of reasons to stop using tobacco. Learn how you can improve your health by choosing to quit smoking.
Need help? Just ask.
You're not alone in trying to quit - or struggling to quit. Our Pulmonary Rehabilitation offers Tobacco-Free You, a tobacco treatment program designed to help you stop smoking for good.
Mercy Hospital's Pulmonary Rehabilitation offers a free six-week tobacco cessation class at Mercy Hospital (worksite classes are also available for a fee).
The program consists of six, 60 to 90-minute small group or individual sessions, which include:
- Barriers to quitting
- Behavior changes
- Stress management
- Avoiding weight gain
- Proper use of medications
Studies show your chance of successfully quitting greatly improves by combining FDA-approved medications with behavioral counseling.
Led by a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist, meetings are held monthly - with both day and evening times available - at Mercy Hospital, in Mercy Hall Auditorium (located behind the parking garage).
For more information, call 330.430.2759.
Pulmonary Function Testing
Your doctor will either schedule your testing prior to leaving the office or give you an order for the test. To schedule an ordered pulmonary test - or to cancel or reschedule one - please call Mercy Hospital's Central Scheduling at 330.489.1300.
Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital
1320 Mercy Drive, NW
Canton, OH 44708