Saint Agnes Hospital

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Experience in Pulmonary Function

The Pulmonary Medicine Department at Saint Agnes Hospital consists of a dedicated team that is experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory diseases. Utilizing the latest testing methods and technology, our experienced team will assign the right tests to insure an accurate diagnosis.

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pulmonary tests

Pulmonary Function Tests Include
Spirometry indicates how effectively your lungs work. Tests may be performed alone or in conjunction with prescribed medication to assess how well medication improves your breathing.

Lung Volumes are determined by one of three methods: helium dilution; nitrogen washout; and body plethysmography. These tests measure lung volumes that cannot be measured directly by exhalation.
Diffusion Capacity measures how well gases move through the lungs and into the bloodstream. A technologist will instruct you on how to perform the test.
Arterial Blood Gas is performed by a specially trained technician who draws arterial blood. This blood is then tested for amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide. This helps the doctor know how well your lungs are working.
Walking Pulse-Oximetry uses infrared light technology. This test determines how much oxygen is attached to your red blood cells and how walking affects those values.

Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing

  • During this test, you will pedal a stationary bike while wearing an open mask and monitoring equipment. The bike will get progressively harder to pedal over a period of about 10-12 minutes. You can stop the test at any time, but pedaling for the maximum test length is ideal. The test is performed under close supervision. It can determine why you are short of breath and also can distinguish heart problems from lung problems. This test also can be used for rehabilitation assessment, disability assessment, sports physicals, and to determine fitness levels.
  • Wear comfortable, loose clothing such as gym clothes, and flat shoes that will not slip off while riding a bike.
  • Unless otherwise directed by your physician, take your daily medications, including breathing medications.
  • Eat a light meal. Do not eat anything heavy that would interfere with exercise. Do not fast.
  • Bring a list of all current medications, especially if you have heart disease, experience chest pain, or take medications that control your heart rate.
  • Try to be as well rested as possible. Do not exercise prior to the test.

Methacholine Challenge Testing
During this test, you will be asked to inhale a mist that contains different concentrations of a medicine called methacholine, and you will be asked perform breathing tests in between each dose. When inhaled, this medicine will narrow the airways of some patients, which is characteristic of the symptoms of asthma. If your airways react to the methacholine, inhaled medications will be given to reverse its effects and return your lungs to normal function. This test is performed under a physician’s direction to diagnose asthma.

The following medications must be withheld for the time periods listed prior to Methacholine Challenge Testing:

  • Metaproternol (Alupent): hold for 8 hrs.
  • Terbutaline: hold for 12 hrs.
  • Atropine: hold for 10 hrs.
  • Albuterol (Proventil): hold for 8 hrs.
  • Corticosteroids: hold for 8 hrs.
  • Epinephrine: hold for 4 hrs.
  • Terbutaline: hold for 12 hrs.
  • Theophylline (liquid prep): hold for 12 hrs.
  • Theophylline (short acting): hold for 12 hrs.
  • Theophylline (interm. acting): hold for 24 hrs.
  • Theophylline (long acting): hold for 48 hrs.
  • Terbutaline: hold for 24 hrs.
  • Antihistamines: hold for 8 hrs.
  • Cromolyn Sodium: hold for 48 hrs.
  • Tranquilizers: hold for 96 hrs.
  • Smoking, coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, alcohol, or chocolate: hold for 6 hrs.
  • Exercise: hold for 2 hrs.

comprehensive pulmonary services

Saint Agnes Hospital offers comprehensive pulmonary services for the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory diseases.These diseases include but are not limited to, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and shortness of breath that cannot be explained through simple spirometry testing.

Scheduling an appointment

The Pulmonary Medicine Department at Saint Agnes Hospital offers weekend appointments for your convenience. To schedule an appointment and for more information, call 410-368-3425.


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