Pulmonary Function Tests
Test date ___________________________Test time______________________________
This test will be performed in the Pulmonary Function Lab (Module B6/2), at the University of
Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, 600 Highland Avenue. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your
appointment to allow time to complete the registration process.
Finding your way
From the parking ramp you will enter through the main Hospital Entrance. Follow the brown
pathway past the “D” elevator lobby to “Clinic Registration” by the Surgical waiting area. Upon
completing registration you will be directed to the Pulmonary Function Lab “Check In” area.
If you are being seen at the American Family Children’s Hospital, please check in at Registration
on the 2nd Floor of the Children’s Hospital. Registration will tell the Pulmonary Function Lab
Staff of your arrival.
What are Pulmonary Function Tests (PFT)?
PFTs are a series of breathing tests. These tests measure the size of your lungs, the speed in
which air moves through the airways, and the gas exchange in the lungs. These tests give your
doctor details about how well your lungs work. Your doctor may choose from many types of
breathing tests. Testing time may vary from 15 minutes to 1.5 hours. The length of the test
depends on which tests are ordered.
Why do I need to have PFTs?
There are many reasons why your doctor has ordered these tests. The most common reasons are
ξ Presence of lung disease
ξ Cause and extent of lung problems
ξ Type of treatment for lung problems
ξ Risk for surgery
How do I prepare for PFTs?
ξ Do not exercise or eat a heavy meal for at least four hours before the test.
ξ Do not have any caffeine, coffee, tea, cola drinks or chocolate.
ξ Do not smoke the day of the test.
ξ We would like you to hold your inhaler 24 hours before the test unless you have trouble
ξ If you are having an exercise test, you may be walking on a treadmill or riding a bike.
You should wear shoes and clothing for exercise (i.e. walking shoes, sweatpants, shorts).
ξ Just before the test we suggest that you empty your bladder.
What do I have to do during the test?
Your ability to follow instructions and perform the maneuvers explained to you will be very
important to obtain good test results. You will be told how to do each test before you start and
the technologist will talk you through each test.
ξ Most breathing tests will be done while you are sitting.
ξ You will breathe in and out of a mouthpiece that is like a large straw to measure your
ξ You may be asked to inhale a mist or spray of medicine into your lungs to see if it
improves your breathing.
ξ You may have blood drawn from an artery to check oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide
(CO2) levels in your blood. This blood test tells how well your lungs use the air you
ξ If blood is drawn from an artery, it is important to keep the site bandaged for 1 hour to
minimize any possibility of bruising at the site.
What do I need to do after the test?
You should feel fine after your test and be able to do your normal routine. Your health care
provider will discuss your test results with you when he or she has the final report.
If you have any questions before your visit, please call the UW Pulmonary Function Lab at
(608) 263-7000, or toll free 1-800-323-8942.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 3/2015 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5364