Find out what to expect when you come to our lung function clinics

The nature of our tests mean that they will always be face to face appointments, with one of our clinical physiologists. Patients can be accompanied to the department, but only the patient will be permitted in the testing environment, except in exceptional circumstances where agreed in advance.

An information sheet will be sent out with the appointment letter, but if you have had any recent surgery, heart problems or chest infections please contact the department to check whether you should still attend the appointment.

If you take regular medication, particularly for your breathing, please bring a list with you. You may be required to withhold inhalers or antihistamine medication prior to your appointment. This will usually be communicated to you at the time of booking, but please contact us to check if you are unsure. We ask that you avoid eating a heavy meal for a couple of hours before you come for the test, but you do not need to fast. If you have any other questions before your appointment, please contact the department directly and we will be happy to answer your questions.

At your appointment

At your appointment you will be asked to perform a series of tests designed to measure your airway function, lung capacity and efficiency. Depending on the number of tests requested, appointments can last from 15 minutes to 2 hours, but the standard length of test is 30-60 minutes. When you arrive, we will need to ask you some questions about your recent medical history to make sure it is safe to perform the test. We will measure your height and weight and check your resting oxygen levels using a probe on your finger. For some tests it may be necessary to take a small sample of blood from your fingertip. All of the test procedures will be explained to you as we go, and there will be opportunities for you to rest between tests and have a drink of water if required.

After your appointment

We send the results of the lung function test to the healthcare professional who requested them. The information we get from the measurements has to be interpreted alongside other tests that you may have had (e.g. x-rays, scans and blood tests) so we will not be able to give you the results on the day. Once your results have been reviewed by the referring team, they will contact you as required to discuss the results.

Further information

British Lung Foundation