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Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT) : Underused Diagnostic Tool?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Amit Jauhari 90% (710 ratings)
MD (Physician), MD (Pulmonology)
Pulmonologist, Bareilly  •  21 years experience
Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT) : Underused Diagnostic Tool?

Pulmonary function test (PFT) is a diagnostic evaluation of the Lungs with a primary purpose of Diagnosing the Lung diseases and it's stage, to rationally treat the pulmonary impairment.

Pulmonary function testing has diagnostic and therapeutic roles and helps clinicians answer some general questions about patients with lung disease.

PFTs should be performed & interpreted by a Pulmonologist.

Pulmonary function testing is a diagnostic and management tool used for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Chronic shortness of breath
  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Interstitial lung disease (ILD)
  • Preoperative testing
  • Impairment or disability
  • Also as a tool to monitor the course of Disease (ASTHMA, COPD, ILD) and Individualise treatment plans, including Rehablitation.

Why is it necessary?

Just imagine not knowing Blood Glucose (Sugar) levels while treating a Diabetic patient, similarly Chest disease patients need Pulmonary Function Testing.

Which helps in:

  • Differentiating between Asthma, COPD etc.
  • Correctly Assigning the Stage of Asthma, COPD
  • Choosing the Rationale & Cost effective treatment.
  • Answering the most important question asked by patient, " Doctor I feel better than before, What should be my future medication course?

Frequency of Pulmonary Function Testing:

In most cases, at time of diagnosis and after that yearly (for comparisons with old reports).

Who should conduct PFT & Interpret the report:

Pulmonologist should perform 7 interpret all results of PFT Tests.

Why is PFT underused?

PFT is a speciality test, even today all medical centers treating Chest patients don't have this facility, hence most patients have not heard about it.

Is it a safe test?

Yes, patient has to only follow intructions to breathe in & out.

Will it be beneficial to all respiratory patients?

No, like all tests, PFT is a specific diagnostic tool with limitations.

Please consult your Chest Specialist before getting PFT Testing.

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