ZocdocAnswersShould children have lung function tests?

Question

Should children have lung function tests?

Hello. The doctor wants my daughter to have a lung function test. Is it OK for a child to have this?

Answer

A lung function test (also known as a pulmonary function test) is a non-invasive test done to help diagnose lung conditions that are causing breathing problems such as shortness of breath. Basically, the test consists of the patient blowing air into a tube. It can measure lung volumes, and speeds of exhalation and inhalation. There are no needles or dangerous drugs used in the tests. In kids, the most common condition that a lung function test will help diagnose is asthma. In asthma, the lung function testing will show a slowed exhalation of air. This slowing is always reversible with medication when asthma is the cause. Pulmonary function testing is performed by a technician, and the results will be read by either a pulmonologist or your daughter's pediatrician. If asthma is diagnosed from the test, then your daughter will need to be started on suppressive medication. The type of medication depends on the severity. Usually the treatment includes an inhaled steroid and an airway dilator such as albuterol. In addition, your daughter may warrant a consultation with an allergist to see if there are any environmental allergies that are contributing to the asthma. This can also help in controlling symptoms. I hope the test goes well.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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