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Pulmonology tests

Pulmonary function test

A pulmonary function test is composed of three parts:

  1. Spirometry pre- and post-bronchodilator: This test measures how well the lungs allow air to enter and exit the lungs. Patients breathe into a mouthpiece, which is connected to a machine. This part of the test helps to detect lung disease, which can include asthma, bronchitis, emphysema or shortness of breath of an unknown origin.
  2. Oxygen diffusion testing: Diffusion testing measures how well a known gas moves from the lungs into the blood and back out. This is called the "diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide."
  3. Thoracic gas volume test: Thoracic gas volume testing measures the amount of air in the lungs. It's a very sensitive test, allowing doctors to gather data that might not be detected in other pulmonary testing. Patients sit inside an airtight booth and breathe through a mouthpiece that measures pressure and airflow. Thoracic gas volume tests can help diagnose lung diseases, evaluate lung health before surgery or monitor breathing problems caused by pollution in the workplace.

Once the pulmonary function test is complete, a lung specialist (pulmonologist) will read the study and share the findings with your doctor.

Arterial blood gas test

An arterial blood gas test can measure how much oxygen and carbon dioxide are in the blood. This helps determine how well the lungs are working, or how well they are moving oxygen into the blood and taking carbon dioxide out of the blood. To conduct this test, a blood sample is drawn from a patient's artery/wrist. Arterial blood gas tests are often done on people hospitalized for a serious injury or illness, or to helpdoctorsdiagnose and treat patients with lung disease.

Exercise asthma challenge

An exercise-induced asthma challenge test is a pulmonary function test conducted before and after a patient exercises on a treadmill. It measures the effect physical activity has on the lungs' ability to take in and release air. This test may be used to diagnose exercise-induced asthma. A lung specialist will read the study and share the findings with your doctor.

Methacholine challenge

A methacholine challenge test is used to diagnose asthma when other tests and symptoms do not confirm the suspicion of asthma. Methacholine is a substance that challenges the airways if asthma is present. Patients inhale the methacholine according to American Thoracic Society guidelines and are closely monitored for a positive reaction. Once complete, a lung specialist reads the study and shares the findings with your doctor.

Six-minute walk oxygen saturation test (pulse oximetry)

An oxygen saturation test monitors a patient's pulse and the amount of oxygen carried in the blood. In the six-minute walk test,patients walk at their own pace for six minutes (or as long as they can go) while wearing a small clip on one finger. This is not a stress test, but rather a test that measures heart rate and oxygen saturation while walking. Time, distance and any symptoms are recorded.

Sweat chloride screening

A sweat chloride screening measures the amount of salt (sodium and chloride) in a person's sweat. It is used to screen for cystic fibrosis. Medicine that induces sweat is applied to the patient's skin. The sweat is collected and sent to our lab for testing. Very high levels of salt chemicals in sweat may indicate cystic fibrosis.

H. pylori breath test

H. pylori is a bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers. A breath test can be used to detect H. pylori in a person's body. The patient swallows a pill with water, then breathes into a balloon. The air inside the balloon is examined in our laboratory to determine if the bacteria are present.


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As the largest health care provider in nine counties, Asante provides comprehensive medical care to more than 600,000 people throughout southern Oregon and northern California. Our facilities include Asante Ashland Community Hospital in Ashland, Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, Asante Three Rivers Medical Center in Grants Pass, Asante Physician Partners and additional health care partnerships throughout the region.