Lung Function Testing

Lung function testing is sometimes performed as part of a health check-up. For athletes, it can be used to assess the degree of exercise induced asthma, and determine the efficacy of medical treatment.

procedure: The usual measures of lung function are of forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expired volume in 1 second (FEV1). These can be measured with a full maximal expiration. Explain to the subject that they must fill their lungs completely, seal their lips around the mouthpiece, and empty their lungs as hard and fast as possible. The best of two trials is usually recorded.

equipment required: Spirometer (e.g. Vitalograph)

pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender and test conditions. Check and calibrate equipment if required. See more details of pre-test procedures.

interpretation: Lung function tests are of little value for predicting fitness and exercise performance, provided that the values fall within a normal range. You must always take into consideration that lung volumes vary with age, sex and body size (especially height).

disadvantages: this test requires expensive equipment that is not always available. A simple inexpensive measure of lung function is the peak flow test.

spirometry testspirometry test

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