Lung Function Test

What is a Lung Function Test?

We perform Lung Function Tests in the clinic using two methods which indicate allergic changes in the lungs as well as signs of asthma, restrictions and obstructions. Respiratory health is of utmost importance, particularly with patients who have experienced anaphylaxis or severe asthma attacks.

The first test is Spirometry. This test will look for signs of asthma or restrictions and obstructions in the lungs. The Spirometry Machine requires the patient to blow three fast and strenuous breaths into the tube. Patients will then be given a dose of Salbutamol (Ventolin inhaler) which will help show potential respiratory improvement. Previous intolerances to Salbutamol, as well as cardiac conditions must be declared to the Nurse before the appointment.

The Spirometry Test is also an essential prerequisite to undergoing supervised feeds in clinic. Professor Lack may also request repeat tests in subsequent follow up appointments or if new respiratory problems or symptoms occur. The second test is ENo (Exhaled Nitric Oxide). This test requires the patient to take a deep breath and then exhale continuously for 10 seconds. ENo measures the presence of any allergic inflammation in the lungs.

These tests are not commonly or reliably used on children under the age of five. Both of the Lung Function Tests can be conducted in approximately 15 minutes.

The second breathing test is called ENo (Exhaled Nitric Oxide) which involves you or your child taking a deep breath and blowing out for 10 seconds. This will enable us to see if there is any allergic inflammation currently in the lungs. These tests are usually only well and reliably performed by children above the age of five.

The tests should take up to fifteen minutes for both, depending on age and technique.

Why do I need a lung function test?

Both Lung Function Tests (ENo and Spirometry) are necessary for all new patients to the clinic as part of an obligatory baseline assessment. Other tests will be arranged if these tests are not age appropriate. Patients who have previously suffered anaphylaxis or serious food allergies are also required to retake these tests to ensure the correct functioning of the respiratory system should there be another emergency episode of reaction.

Similarly, these tests will be required for patients who have experienced respiratory symptoms associated with known asthma, allergic asthma, hayfever or exercise-induced wheezing. The results will be used to assess your breathing as part of your consultation, diagnosis and treatment plan.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

For children aged between 5-10 years old, an explanation of the procedure before the appointment is advised. Simply explain that there will be a test where they have to blow out as hard as possible for as long as possible, similar to how they would blow out all the candles on a birthday cake. And another test where they have to breathe out slowly and steadily for as long as they can.

Children above the age of ten should be able to complete the tests quickly and easily. For a visual aid, videos can be found online in order to show your child how the test will be performed.