Primary care

Lung function analysis

What is a lung function analysis ?

A lung function test is, as the name suggests, an examination to check the function of the lungs and other airways. Various test procedures are available for this purpose:

  • Spirometry (in practice also called "Lufu" for "lung function")
  • Spiroergometry (examination of lung function under physical stress)
  • Determination of diffusion capacity (an investigation of gas exchange)
  • Peak flow measurement (determination of the air flow in the airways)
  • Bodyplethysmography / whole-body plethysmography (based on volume determination)
  • Blood gas analysis (determination of the oxygen and carbon dioxide content in the blood)
  • Medicinal test procedures (targeted influencing of respiratory function by active substances)

A pulmonary function test can be performed both as an outpatient procedure by a family doctor or pulmonary specialist and as part of a hospital stay. There are also simple devices for lung function testing at home using peak flow measurement.

Thecosts for the lung function test are usually covered by the statutory health insurance.

When do you do a lung function analysis?

A lung function test is used both for diagnostics and for monitoring the progress or success of therapy for various diseases.

For example, a doctor can use it to detect narrowed airways (obstruction). This occurs mainly in the common diseases asthma and COPD. In those affected, the lung function evaluation shows a reduction in the one-second capacity and the Tiffenau index. If the residual volume is increased, this may indicate emphysema, often a late consequence of obstructive airway diseases.

What is the procedure for a lung function analysis?

In general, during a pulmonary function test, the physician determines various values that provide information about the functioning of the lungs. As a rule, the patient must breathe through the mouthpiece of a measuring device according to the instructions of the medical team or the medical assistant.

What do I have to consider after a lung function analysis?

Immediately after the pulmonary function test, you should resume a normal breathing rhythm. Try to breathe in and out calmly and evenly. If you feel a slight coughing sensation or dry mouth, you should drink a little. Your doctor will discuss the results and the next steps with you after the lung function test.