Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link

Overview of Tests for Lung Disorders

By

Rebecca Dezube

, MD, MHS, Johns Hopkins University

Last full review/revision May 2021| Content last modified May 2021
Click here for the Professional Version

After doctors complete the medical history and physical examination, they often take a chest x-ray. The results of the history, physical examination, and chest x-ray often suggest what additional testing may be needed to determine what is causing the person's symptoms.

Doctors may test for lung disorders by measuring the lungs' capacity to hold and move air and to absorb oxygen. These tests (called pulmonary function tests) are most helpful in determining the general type of lung disorder and determining the severity. Other tests, including additional chest imaging, bronchoscopy, and thoracoscopy, allow doctors to determine the specific cause of a lung disorder.

Because heart disorders may also cause shortness of breath and other symptoms that may suggest a lung disorder and because lung disorders can affect the heart, doctors often do electrocardiography (ECG, to measure the electrical impulses in the heart) and echocardiography (ultrasonography of the heart) in people with these symptoms.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
Click here for the Professional Version
Others also read

Test your knowledge

Goodpasture Syndrome
Goodpasture syndrome is an uncommon autoimmune disorder in which bleeding into the lungs and progressive kidney failure occur. People with the syndrome usually have difficulty breathing and cough up blood. Which of the following groups is most likely to developing Goodpasture syndrome?
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID

Also of Interest

Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
TOP