Pulmonary Function Testing FAQs

Are pulmonary function tests painful?
No, there should be no pain associated with the pulmonary function tests. It is possible that you may experience some shortness of breath, chest discomfort, lightheadedness, or headache during some of the tests but you will be monitored closely by experienced staff and the test can be stopped if you are uncomfortable.

I have bad lung disease. Will I be able to perform the pulmonary function tests?
It is our experience that even the sickest patients are able to perform lung function testing reliably with the proper coaching. If you are tired or need a break, we will give you the time that you need before continuing.

Can I do lung function tests when I have a cold?
Your lung function tests will generally be more helpful to your doctor if performed when you are not sick. For methacholine challenge tests, you should not have had a cold or flu-like illness for at least two weeks prior to your test.

Are pulmonary function tests covered by my health insurance policy?
Although most tests are covered, you should check directly with your insurance company to determine what coverage is provided.

Can I take my medications when I come for pulmonary function testing?
In general, you should take all of your non-pulmonary medications when you come to the laboratory. Specific instructions for withholding pulmonary medications depend upon the particular test you are scheduled for (see patient testing instructions). You should always speak with your doctor first before stopping any of your medications.

Can I smoke before having pulmonary function tests?
The tests will be more reliable if you do not smoke on the day of testing.

I use oxygen. Will it be provided in the laboratory or should I bring my own supply?
You should bring your own oxygen tank since you will need it to travel to and from the lab. We do have oxygen on hand to use while you are in the lab.

Can I catch an infection from doing pulmonary function tests?
We use special filters on our breathing machines so that you will never breathe the air exhaled by another person. Our staff adheres to the highest standards of cleanliness in the laboratory. The risk of infection transmission during pulmonary function testing is very low.