Pulmonary Functions Tests (PFT)

Pulmonary Function Tests are a group of procedures that measure the function of the lungs helping to expose any problems in the way a patient is breathing, thus PFTs are often referred to as “breathing tests”.  These tests are used in trying to diagnose the cause of shortness of breath or confirm any suspicions of lung disease. The test can also be used to measure how a certain lung condition or disease is progressing or how a patient is reacting to a specific treatment.

The test is performed by first plugging your nose and breathing through your mouth into a tube apparatus that is attached to another apparatus called a spirometer. Then you take in a deep breath and exhale as quickly and forcefully as possible directly into the tube. This is repeated multiple times and the lung function is measured as the best of three. The results are based on your age, weight, height and gender and are then sent to your doctor who will discuss the results with you at your next appointment.

Arterial Blood Gases (ABG) Test

This test is for patients experiencing respiratory problems, such as: coughing, wheezing or difficulty while deep breathing or being considered for lung operations. This test is designed to measure the levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide and bicarbonate in the blood found in your arteries in order to determine how well your lungs are working. The test evaluates the ability of the lungs to move oxygen into the blood and remove carbon dioxide from the blood.

Before the test

We recommend you:

  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • DO NOT wear any scented products
  • Eat only a light meal and do not smoke for 4-6hrs before the test
  • Please DO NOT take the following medications 6hrs before the test: Airomir, Alupent, Atrovent, Berotec, Bricanyl, Combivent, Duovent, Foradil, Ipadtripium Bromide, Proair, Salbutmol, Vaponephrine and Ventolin
  • Please DO  NOT take the following medications 12hrs before the test: Advair, Serevent, Spiriva, Oxeze* (If you have trouble breathing prior to the test, you may take these rescue medications as prescribed



We can book a PFT test for you at most hospitals. We will (as always) try and keep the tests as close to your home as possible. The PFT test is very often booked in conjunction with and a 6-minute Walk test. Here are the locations of some of the hospitals we frequent.