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Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT)

in the Non-Invasive Testing Department

Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT)

Pulmonary Function Testing is comprised of three separate tests: Spirometry, Lung Volume and Lung Diffusion Capacity.

  • Spirometry measures the volume of air forcibly exhaled over time.
  • Lung Volume measures the volume of air in different compartments of your lung.
  • Lung Diffusion Capacity measures the gas exchanging ability of the lungs.

Your doctor has ordered one or more of these tests.

The tests can take up to one hour, but usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes. The results of these tests help your doctor determine an appropriate diagnosis and treatment for your breathing symptoms.

If you are currently taking any of the inhaled medication listed below, please withhold using them for the recommended time unless instructed differently by your physician. During the test, you may be given a breathing treatment to measure your lung’s response to the medicine.

If you feel you need the medication for relief of symptoms before your appointment time, do not hesitate to take them as prescribed/needed.

Pre-Test Instructions


  1. Withhold short acting bronchodilators for 6 to 8 hours. These include Albuterol, Ventolin, Proventil, Maxair, Combivent and Atrovent.
  2. Withhold long acting bronchodilators 12 hours. These include Serevent, Advair, Foradil, Symbicort and Dulera.
  3. Withhold ultralong bronchodilators for 24 hours. These include Spiriva, Incruse, Anoro, Stiolto, Breo and Trelegy.

Other factors

  1. Do not smoke on the day of your test.
  2. Do not partake in vigorous exercising immediately prior to testing.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital’s Pulmonary Function Laboratory at 617-983-7121.

To schedule or reschedule your appointment, please call 617-983-7160.

Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital

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