Pulmonary Function Tests

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Apr 11, 2007
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I am scheduled to have a Pulmonary Function Test this coming Friday morning, and I have never had one before. Does anyone have any information about what to expect, how long will it take, or will they give results right away? As long as they aren't as awful as the EMG, I can handle it :smile:

Hi lisa-

Mom's test took about 30 minutes. One involved short breaths or puffs into a tube, another was deep breathing into the tube. Not nearly as bad as one might expect. The most difficut part for her was getting out of her chair and into position for the test. We're still waiting one week later for the results.

Good luck!

When I get mine done I ask for a print out of the test and have always gotten it right then. The hardest thing with the test is that they ask you to take a breath and blow it all out. They keep telling you to blow until you get all the air right out of your lungs. It sometimes feels like it's coming right from your toes. Other than getting red in the face it's no big deal.
Hi Lisa-One of my children used to have asthma as a chid and they often did a pulmonary function test on her. She was real little at the itme-about 8 years old, and she was never bothered by it. Best thing is that you get a lot of good information. Hope all goes well on Friday for you. Cindy
Pulmonary Test

Let us know how it turns out Lisa. Friday morning? We'll look for your post after. Frizzel
Pul. Test

I decided to have one of those tests [pulmonary] done also and I was wondering when I was at the doctor today they clipped that little thing on my finger it showed my oxygen level at 95% or does that really not mean anything in regards to breathing ability? When I now breathe deeply it does not feel smooth [don't know how to explain it exactly]. He [doctor] seemed a little surprised that I was doing so well and he said I had gained 9 lbs. guess I had better get a scale. Cindy, If you keep posting at the rate your going you'll catch up with Al pretty soon! Hope your 'plateau' continues. Barry
Thanks much- I am glad to hear this is relatively painless..The little finger clip is to measure the oxygen saturation of your blood. Normal is anywhere from 92-100%, so 95 is a good result. I had mine done at my regular Dr.s and it was 97% so that was good news..

I am really hoping for a good result Friday- after that crappy EMG I have been a nervous wreck, so I am praying the Pulmonary test comes back normal..I will let you know how it goes..

Thanks again!


Lisa, Why are you having a pulmonary test done are you having breathing problems at the present time? Do you get out of breath going upstairs or uphill [if you have hills where you live]. Do you have swallowing or talking problems. Good luck Fri. Barry
I have been short of breath just sitting and talking. I had to do some training at work a couple of months ago and while speaking, I just could not catch my breath.. I have been short of breath just having a simple conversation with someone. My anxiety and stress level has shot through the roof as a result and I know that could be a contributing factor.

I am praying it is normal tomorrow..I will let you know..
Thanks again!

Hi Lisa. Good luck tomorrow. I hate to rain on your parade but even though you have a good pulmonary function test you still might need a sleep study to check your CO2 levels and O2 levels. I still have an FVC of around 85 but still need a Bipap because of breathing issues that were noticed because of shortness of breath on exertion and talking. Hope things go OK.

Lisa, Stress and anxiety were huge factors for me in the begining and only time and progressing slowly helped me cope with it in the long run. I focus on other things now and I just do what I can each day. You will be surprised at how much strength you have down deep to draw from. I never had much courage in a crisis, but now with all that I have gone through with this disease I realize I'm a stronger person than I ever thought I could be. Guess I'm kind of ramblin on, but maybe this will help you or someone else. Barry

It's funny you say that about blowing all the air out of your lungs, and that it felt like it was coming out of your toes. When the nurse had me do the test the first time, and kept telling me to blow, blow, blow, even when I felt like there was no air left in my lungs, she took me out of the box, and said that my face was pink. So, you're right, your face does get red!

Good news! The FVC came back at 101%, the only numbers that came back weird were the MVV: 78%, DLco: 50%, and DLco/VA: 50%.

The only number I am familiar with is the FVC. I don't know if the other abnormal values are indicative of anything or not. Anyone know if they are important? The pulmonologist hasn't gone over this with me yet, I just forced the tech to give me a copy of the preliminary results..Anyways- I am happy about the FVC, I needed some good news:-D

The test itself wasn't bad- it was just like you all said..I got red in the face too!:oops:


I don't know what the other readings are, but an FVC of 101% would be fantastic!

Watch the stress, it is a killer and can cause the symptoms you mentioned. Relax and feel your breathing get better!
Lisa, I'm glad the initial results came out so well. I think Al is right though, that if you feel you are having any difficulty with feeling short of breath, it is worth having other tests done to give you more information about how your body/lungs are functioning at different times and different situations.. These may come out well also, which would give you less concern.

Al, I think they should routinely order the sleep study and blood gases tests for all ALS patients. These tests can indicate the need for breathing assistance even when the pulmonary function test result is not down to critical levels. I think if my dad had these earlier in the process he would have been on the bi-pap sooner and perhaps had a better chance of making it work before it was too late. While hindsight doesn't do anything for my dad, anybody else out there, if you have concerns about your breathing, insist on getting a full workup. Ask your family how your breathing sounds when you are asleep, and let the doctor know if there is a potential problem.
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