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Pulmonary Function Test

A pulmonary function test is a breathing test that shows the presence and extent of lung abnormalities. It is also used to evaluate the need for inhalers and the effects of medication on the lungs.

This test is ordered for patients who have the following symptoms or conditions:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent cough
  • Wheezing

Click here to view the pulmonary function test brochure.

Location and Contact Information

To make a pulmonary function test appointment, please visit the Make an Appointment page.

Markham Site

We suggest parking in the main hospital parking lot, opposite the Link Lobby Entrance and Medical Office Building, when visiting diagnostic services.

Please go to the central registration desk on the main floor of Building A, before heading to diagnostic services on the second floor in Building B where you'll be directed to the designated waiting room..

For more information on parking, please click here.

Care Providers

The pulmonary function  test is performed by a respiratory therapist.

What You Should Know

Before Your Visit

If possible, please do not take any inhalers on the day of your test. If you require emergency rescue medication or inhalers, you may take those.

Do not take Serevent or Advair for 12 hours before your test.

Do not take Ventolin (Salbutamol), Atrovent or Bricanyl for four hours before your test.

Do not smoke for four to six hours before your test. Please do not wear jewellery or perfume on the day of your test.

Please arrive 30 minutes before your test to register at the central registration desk in Building A. Please bring your health card and your requisition (if your physician has provided you with one).

During Your Visit

Please allow 30 minutes for this test.

The respiratory therapist performing your exam will instruct you in a series of breathing tests. You will be seated in front of the machine that measures your lung function. You will be asked to hold a sterile mouthpiece between your teeth while performing the tests. In some cases we will give you an inhaler with Ventolin during the test.

After Your Visit

There are no specific instructions for after your test.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I eat or drink before this test?

Yes, you may eat normal meals.

What if I am on oxygen?

There is oxygen available in the room you are in and you will be able to use it in order to preserve what is in your portable unit.

Do I have to sit in a booth?

Yes. However, the door of the booth will stay open except for one portion of one breathing test. The door is only closed for a total of two minutes.

Can I do the test if I am in a wheelchair?

Yes. We can accommodate patients who are in a wheelchair.

Additional Resources

The Canadian Thoracic Society – lung.ca

The American Thoracic Society – thoracic.org/