What is PFT?
PFT stands for Pulmonary Function Test or Testing and this refers to a variety of tests to check lung function. Those with problems in breathing like people with respiratory and/or cardiovascular illnesses are typically prescribed to undergo lung testing or PFT to test the lung’s overall capacity in terms of breathing.
Pulmonary Function Testing is also referred to as spirometry and is prescribed by doctors for a variety of reasons. Spirometry is just one of many lung function tests but it is the most commonly prescribed by doctors, which is why PFT is closely associated with this term. Spirometry is prescribed to determine overall lung function, to evaluate those with difficulty in breathing, to possibly detect and/or diagnose pulmonary illnesses, to assess the severity of lung damage, to monitor the effectiveness of other respiratory-related therapies and treatment procedures, to check if a particular patient has some pulmonary related risks when undergoing a major operation, and to monitor those who have existing pulmonary illnesses which are related to their occupation and/or profession.
During the actual test, patients are told to breathe into a device called a spirometer. Through the mouthpiece, patients will be asked to inhale and exhale and the volume of air in the entire process will be recorded. Normal and or “forced” breathing are the basic parts of the lung function testing and usually patients are allowed to practice using the mouthpiece and/or machine before any recording is done.
Normal values for lung volumes and capacities will be used by doctors to compare with the results of a particular patient who underwent PFT. These values for lung function may differ between individuals depending on sex, age, height, and even ethnic background.
Besides pulmonary function testing, respiratory patients may also be required to undergo lung imaging techniques like X-rays and CT-scans. Others also need lung biopsies for a more in-depth study of lung tissues.