Pulmonary medicine is the diagnoses and treatment of respiratory tract disease, focusing on the chest and lungs. Our pulmonologists are board certified in internal medicine and pulmonology. In pulmonary medicine, as with many other forms of medicine, correct diagnosis is key to effective treatment. A pulmonary system that is functioning correctly has many different sections and processes that have to remain in balance. At Wake Internal Medicine, we realize the need for extensive assessment and accurate diagnosis. This is why our practice focuses on providing extensive pulmonary function testing.
What is a Pulmonary Function Test?
Pulmonary function tests evaluate how well your lungs work. Ventilation is the moving of air into and out of your lungs. There are many different ways that this process can be disrupted, so pulmonary function tests are needed to determine the level of functionality and causes of limited function. These tests determine how much air your lungs can hold, how quickly you can move air in and out of your lungs, and how well your lungs put oxygen into your blood and remove carbon dioxide from your blood. These tests screen for two different types of pulmonary system conditions, restrictive and obstructive.
Pulmonary System Conditions
Restrictive- This condition occurs when the muscles of the chest cavity are not able to expand wide enough to allow for normal air flow.
Obstructive- Many times there can be obstructions, whether foreign or of the body, that can cause decreased air flow. This can cause problems with air flow out of the lungs and affect breathing.
Pulmonary function tests are performed to determine which of these conditions you may be suffering from and the causes of the condition. To determine the condition, causes and the range of pulmonary function, there are many different metrics that are measured during a pulmonary function test.
Pulmonary Function Test Metrics
Vital capacity (VC)- total volume of air exhaled after maximum inspiration
Functional residual capacity (FRC)- the amount of air in lungs after average expiration
Forced vital capacity (FVC)- the amount of air exhaled immediately and with full force following maximum inspiration
Total lung capacity- the volume of lungs during maximum inflation
Minute volume (MV)- the amount of air exhaled in a minute
Tidal volume (VT)- the amount of air inhaled or exhaled while breathing normally
Forced expiratory volume (FEV)- the volume of air expired during each of the first 3 seconds of the FVC test
Peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR)- maximum volume taken during forced expiration
Forced expiratory flow (FEF)- average flow rate during the middle of a FVC test
Wake Internal Medicine provides pulmonary function tests and treatment for patients in the Raleigh, NC area. For more information about our pulmonary medicine services, contact us at our Raleigh, NC office.