Pulmonologists | Spartanburg South Carolina
Appointments: 864-573-6320

Lung Diffusion Capacity

Lung Diffusion Testing

 Lung diffusion testing measures how well the lungs exchange gases. This is an important part of lung testing, because the major function of the lungs is to allow oxygen to “diffuse” or pass into the blood from the lungs, and to allow carbon dioxide to “diffuse” from the blood into the lungs.

How the Test is Performed

You breathe in (inhale) air containing a very small amount of a tracer gas, such as carbon monoxide. You hold your breath for 10 seconds, then rapidly blow it out (exhale). The exhaled gas is tested to determine how much of the tracer gas was absorbed during the breath.

How to Prepare for the Test

  • Do not eat a heavy meal before the test.
  • Do not smoke for at least 4 – 6 hours before the test.
  • If you use a bronchodilator or inhaler medications, ask your health care provider whether or not you can use them before the test.

How the Test Will Feel

The mouthpiece fits tightly around your mouth. Clips are put on your nose.

Why the Test is Performed

The test is used to diagnose certain lung diseases, and to monitor the status of people with established lung disease. Repeatedly measuring the diffusing capacity can help determine whether the disease is improving or getting worse

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