Pulmonary Lab

  • graphic of lung diseaseOur state-of-the-art pulmonary diagnostics laboratory helps people with serious lung and breathing disorders. Licensed pulmonary therapists and technologists conduct the tests and all results are interpreted by a board-certified pulmonologist.

    Our testing services include:

    • Bronchoscopy
    • Pulmonary Function Tests
    • Spirometry (with and without post-bronchodilator testing)
    • Static lung volumes (nitrogen washout and plethysmograph)
    • Diffusion capacity
    • Methacholine challenge study
    • Airway resistance and conductance
    • Maximal inspiratory and expiratory mouth pressures
    • Cardiopulmonary exercise studies
    • Exercise spirometry
    • Arterial blood gas analysis and shunt studies
    • Resting and exercise blood gas studies
    • Exercise oximetry

    Our services are available by physician referral from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

    Bronchoscopy
    Bronchoscopy is a procedure that allows the physician to see passageways in the lower respiratory tract using a long, narrow, fiberoptic, lighted tube inserted through the nose or mouth. With the bronchoscope, the physician can see the larynx (voice box), trachea (windpipe), bronchi (large airways to the lungs), and bronchioles (smaller branches of the bronchi). The bronchoscope has interior channels that can deliver oxygen, suction secretions, obtain tissue samples (biopsy), deliver medication, and provide laser therapy.

    During the procedure, you will most likely be awake, but you may receive a sedative to help you relax. A numbing agent will be sprayed in your throat to minimize discomfort. After the procedure, you will remain at the hospital for a brief observation period and then you will be allowed to go home. You should arrange to have somebody drive you home.

    Pulmonary Function Test
    Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are noninvasive diagnostic tests that provide measurable feedback about the function of the lungs. These tests assess lung volumes, capacities, rates of flow, and gas exchange. 

    One of the primary functions of the pulmonary system is ventilation: the movement of air into and out of the lungs. Medical conditions that interfere with ventilation are categorized as restrictive or obstructive. An obstructive condition occurs when air has difficulty flowing into the lungs due to resistance, causing a decreased flow of air. A restrictive condition occurs when the chest muscles are unable to expand adequately, creating a disruption in air flow. Pulmonary function tests help determine the presence, location, cause, and characteristics of the problem.

    Some PFTs involve the use of a spirometer. The spirometer is an instrument that measures how quickly air is inhaled and expelled from the lungs while breathing through a mouthpiece. The measurements are recorded on a device called a spirograph. In addition to measuring the amount and rate of air inhaled and exhaled, the test can also indicate how well oxygen and carbon dioxide are being exchanged in the alveoli.

    Some PFTs, such as thoracic gas volume or other lung volume measurements, may be determined by plethysmography. During plethysmography, a person sits or stands inside an air-tight box that resembles a short, square telephone booth to perform the tests.

    The normal values for PFTs vary from person to person. The amount of air inhaled and exhaled in your test results are compared to the expected average in someone of the same age, height, sex, and race. In addition, results are compared to your previous test results, if previous testing has been done. If you have abnormal PFT measurements or if your results are different from previous tests, you may be referred for other diagnostic tests to establish a medical diagnosis.