Diagnostic Tests for Lung Conditions

Diagnosing lung diseases when they’re in the early stages is vital to effective treatment. Our dedicated specialists treat adults and children with both simple and complex conditions at our innovative, ground-breaking heart and lung centre.  We provide a wide range of tests and scans to aid diagnosis for a whole host of lung conditions. These include:

Lung Function Tests

We offer a range of lung function tests to evaluate how well your lungs work. These include:

  • Spirometry: This test involves blowing into a device called a spirometer to show how well you breathe in and out. You will be asked to breathe in fully and then blow out as hard and fast as you can.
  • Lung volumes: This test involves breathing into a device similar to a spirometer, whilst sitting in a glass box with a clip on your nose (to prevent air escaping). This allows us to gauge breathing capacity.
  • Gas transfer: This test involves breathing in a harmless gas, holding it in for 10 seconds and then breathing out the gas into a mouthpiece. We will then test the gas to detect how well oxygen diffuses into the lungs

All tests are painless and should not take longer than an hour. Depending on the results of the above you may need a blood test or exercise test to aid accurate diagnosis.

Exercise Test

This test allows us to monitor changes to your heart rate and breathing whilst you exercise.  We will ask you to walk on a treadmill, whilst breathing into a mouthpiece with a soft clip on your nose. This will enable our specialists to measure how much air that you breathe during exercise. An ECG will be used to monitor your heart rate, whilst a blood pressure cuff will be used to measure your blood pressure. A small peg on your finger will also be used to detect the level of oxygen in your blood.

Imaging Tests

Consultants at RBHH provide a range of imaging tests to build a more detailed picture of your heart and lungs.

  • Chest X-Ray: A chest x –ray is just like a normal x-ray and allows us to get a picture of your lungs, heart, large arteries, ribs and diaphragm. You will be asked to hold your breath during the x-ray and most often two will be taken.
  • Computed Tomography (CT  scan): A CT  scan is a special imaging test that allows us to build detailed pictures  of your heart and lungs. You will lie on a bed as it moves through a scanner and will be asked to hold your breath whilst the scan is taken.
  • CMR: A CMR scan provides detailed images of the heart function and structure, by using strong magnetic and radio waves. You will lie on a bed as it moves through the scanner. You will be asked to keep still and to hold your breath during the scan.
  • Nuclear Medicine: Nuclear medicine can be used in the diagnosis of heart or lung conditions by injecting a special substance with radioactive properties into the blood. Known as a ‘tracer’ this substance helps to highlight the part of the body being scanned.

Complementary Services

Effective treatment of heart and lung conditions requires a multidisciplinary approach. Here’s an example of the additional services we provide to accelerate and enhance recovery.

  • Diet and Nutrition Advice: Our expert dieticians will work with you to create tailored plans for weight loss, managing food allergies and simple ways to make essential, effective diet and lifestyle changes that  complement your treatment and therapy.
  • Physiotherapy: Our highly physiotherapists work alongside dieticians, consultants and therapists to ensure your physical wellbeing is looked after. Physiotherapy services include exercise regimes, breathing exercises, airway clearance, pain management and rehabilitation programmes.
  • Psychology: Our  psychologists offer a range of therapies to treat psychological problems associated with long term or acute illness. There is strong evidence from research studies linking effective treatment of mental health conditions with significantly improved physical health outcomes.

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