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George Eliot Hospital - NHS Trust
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Full lung function test

Parent specialty: Cardio Respiratory Unit (CRU)

A lung function test measures how well the lungs are working. Doctors commonly request these tests to:

  • check for lung disease

  • to measure severity of lung disease

  • to see if medication will improve breathing

  • to test lung function before an operation


The procedure
The patient will be asked to breathe in and out of a machine through a disposable mouthpiece. The nose will be sealed using a noseclip and they will be seated during all the tests.

There are 3 main tests:

  • Measurement of the speed the patient can breathe out by asking them to blast the air out of their lungs as quickly and as long as they can.

  • Measurement of how well oxygen travels from the lungs into the blood.  For this the patient will breathe in until full and then hold their breath for 6 seconds.

  • Measurement of the size or volume of air in the lungs.


Preparing for the test
Before attending for your lung function tests, please:

  • Do not eat a heavy meal for 2 hours

  • Do not take alcohol for 4 hours

  • Do not take vigorous exercise for 30 minutes

  • Do not wear any tight clothing that may restrict breathing

  • Do not smoke for at least 1 hour

  • Continue to take all prescribed medication as normal. Please bring a list of current medication.

Allow 30-60minutes for the appointment.

Finding the department
From the main entrance walk by the teabar and shop and then take a right at the crossroads just before you reach the XRay and pathology departments there is a lift or a set of stairs, go up to the first floor, we are on the right if you use the lift and left if you use the stairs.

The patient should contact the department if they have experienced any of the following

  • Current or recent chest infection (within the last 3 weeks)

  • Recent eye, stomach or chest surgery

  • Heart attack or stroke within the last month

  • Attended Accident & Emergency in the last 2 to 3 days

  • Chest Pain on the Day of your test


The results will go the patient's consultant who will explain them at their next clinic visit. Please note that patients will not be given test results on the day of the test unless they have a clinic appointment directly after testing, in which case they will be able to take a copy to clinic with you.

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