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In the Pulmonary Function Lab at Chester County Hospital each patient receives comprehensive testing and evaluation as well as individualized education and treatment recommendations. Our team of Pulmonary Function Therapists, registered and certified in Respiratory Therapy and Pulmonary Function, works with referring physicians to provide a continuum of care to patients from testing to diagnosis and treatment.

Chester County Hospital recently purchased new state of the art equipment for our Pulmonary Function Lab. This new equipment includes a new extra-wide body box (Plethysmography) that can accommodate patients in wheelchairs as well as larger obese patients. Impulse Oscillometry is also newly available for testing. This allows for better testing results with less patient effort especially for children, elderly patients and those patients who are claustrophobic.

Who is Appropriate for Pulmonary Function Testing?
There are many reasons for Pulmonary Function Testing, but the most common include the analysis of patients experiencing symptoms and signs of lung disease, coughing, shortness of breath, low oxygen levels, wheezing, or recurrent bronchitis. Testing is also useful to monitor the effectiveness of therapy, the progression of a disease, to establish a baseline fitness level for patients, to screen patients at risk for pulmonary disease as well as testing prior to surgery.

Education Program
During the testing process patients are provided with education and training on pulmonary topics relevant to their condition (e.g. COPD, asthma, emphysema, sarcoidosis, pulmonary fibrosis, etc.). Education and training includes use of inhalers, medications, breathing exercises and smoking cessation. The Pulmonary Function team also takes part in community screenings and educational events upon request.

Inside the Ambulatory Care Center in the Chester County Hospital, side entrance off of East Marshall Street across the street from the 600 Office building. Turn in at the EMERGENCY entrance and go left thru the physician parking lot. Look for Ambulatory Care Center signs. Go past the stop sign and first entrance on right is the Ambulatory Care Center. Small amount of parking is available at the location or you can park across the street at the 600 Office building and cross over East Marshall Street in the pedestrian crossing area. Once inside the ACC entrance go to Pre-Admission Testing to register.

Types of Pulmonary Function Tests

  • SPIROMETRY: A simple breathing test that evaluates a patient's lung function by measuring airflow into and out of the lungs.
  • SPIROMETRY PRE/POST BRONCHODILATOR: Determines a patient's response to specific bronchodilator therapy indicated with chronic cough or chest tightness, suspect asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
  • FLOW-VOLUME LOOP: A common practice of charting expiratory (breathing out) flow rates against lung volumes; the link between flow rates to lung volume produces a typical Flow-volume curve. The Flow-volume loop is helpful in evaluating patients with cough and shortness of breath.
  • LUNG VOLUMES: Lung volumes measure different parts of the breath to determine how much air a patient can breathe in and out. Lung volumes are obtained through Plethysmography, where a patient sits in an enclosed clear chamber and is asked to perform a series of very small panting breaths. Lung volumes are used to determine the airways resistance and conductance in the lungs in addition to whether there is retained air in lungs (airtrapping).
  • DIFFUSION CAPACITY (DLCO): Measures how well gases such as oxygen and carbon dioxide move from the lungs to the blood and back to the lungs.
  • BRONCHIAL CHALLENGE / PROVOCATION: This test is performed to determine the presence of Asthma. Patients are asked to inhale different dosages of a bronchoconstrictor and repeat spirometry testing after each dose. Patients are monitored closely and given medication to reverse any symptoms that may occur.
  • MAXIMAL RESPIRATORY PRESSURES: This measures the force of air coming from the lungs with a device in the mouth. Assesses and quantifies the degree of respiratory muscular weakness that may occur with neuromuscular diseases.
  • IMPULSE OSCILLOMETRY: This also measures lung volumes with much less effort without the enclosed chamber for children, patients that are unable to pant and claustrophobic patients.
  • OXIMETRY: This non-invasive test determines the amount of oxygen in the blood at rest along with your resting heart rate.
  • OXIMETRY WITH EXERCISE (Six Minute Walk): This non-invasive test determines the amount of oxygen in the blood by comparing resting Pulse Oximetry levels to those of increased activity levels. This test is also used to determine if a patient requires oxygen
    and the amount of oxygen needed with rest and exercise.
  • ARTERIAL BLOOD GASES (ABG's): A blood test that measures the levels of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide levels in the blood. This test evaluates the ability of the lungs to move oxygen in and carbon dioxide out of the blood.
  • CARDIO-PULMONARY STRESS TEST: This stress exercise test on a bicycle is performed for patients that present with shortness of breath, chest pain and/or fatigue with activity. It provides important information about what may limit your ability to exercise and determines if it is the heart, lungs or deconditioning that is causing your symptoms.
  • TEST INTERPRETATION: Test interpretation is provided by a Board Certified and Licensed Pulmonary Physician. Test results are sent to referring physicians and primary care physicians.



Chester County Hospital
Ambulatory Care Center
701 East Marshall Street
West Chester, Pa. 19380
Phone: 610-431-5406
Fax: 610-738-2327

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