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How is a pulmonary function test (PFT) done to diagnose emphysema?

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For this exam, you’ll sit inside an enclosed booth and breathe into a tube. This will let your doctor measure:

If you have normal lungs, you’ll likely be able to empty most of the air from them in 1 second. If you have emphysema, it’ll probably take longer.

  • How much air your lungs can hold
  • How fast you can blow air out of your lungs
  • How much air stays trapped in your lungs after you exhale
  • Whether you’re able to breathe better after using medicines you inhale, such as albuterol

From: How Do Doctors Diagnose Emphysema? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

News release, FDA.

American Thoracic Society: "Standards for the Diagnosis and Management of Patients with COPD."

Albert R. Mosby Elsevier, 2008. Clinical Respiratory Medicine,

American Lung Association: "Diseases A-Z: Emphysema."

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: "Diseases and Conditions Index: COPD."

Reviewed by Paul Boyce on March 15, 2019

SOURCES:

News release, FDA.

American Thoracic Society: "Standards for the Diagnosis and Management of Patients with COPD."

Albert R. Mosby Elsevier, 2008. Clinical Respiratory Medicine,

American Lung Association: "Diseases A-Z: Emphysema."

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: "Diseases and Conditions Index: COPD."

Reviewed by Paul Boyce on March 15, 2019

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How can a chest X-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan help diagnose emphysema?

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