Merck Manual

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Overview of Tests of Pulmonary Function

By

Karen L. Wood

, MD, Grant Medical Center, Ohio Health

Medically Reviewed Apr 2022 | Modified Sep 2022
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Basic pulmonary function tests available in the ambulatory setting include

  • Spirometry

  • Pulse oximetry

Spirometry and pulse oximetry Pulse Oximetry Gas exchange is measured through several means, including Diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide Pulse oximetry Arterial blood gas sampling The diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO)... read more provide physiologic measures of pulmonary function and can be used to quickly narrow a differential diagnosis and suggest a subsequent strategy of additional testing or therapy. More complicated testing includes

These tests provide a more detailed description of physiologic abnormalities and the likely underlying pathology. The choice and sequence of testing are guided by information taken from the history and physical examination Evaluation of the Pulmonary Patient Key components in the evaluation of patients with pulmonary symptoms are the history, physical examination, and, in many cases, a chest x-ray. These components establish the need for subsequent... read more Evaluation of the Pulmonary Patient .

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