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Pulmonary Physiology Lab

The pulmonary physiology lab at El Camino Health offers a wide range of tests and specialized procedures to diagnose and monitor lung conditions.

Pulmonary physiology tests are noninvasive and pose no significant risks. People often have several of these tests performed on the same day. Tests may be repeated over time for continued monitoring of your health. Pulmonary physiology tests are used to:

  • Measure how well your lungs are working compared to established standards.
  • Assess the effects of chronic lung diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD).
  • Monitor your lung treatments to determine how well they’re working.
  • Determine if you’re able to tolerate surgery or other procedures.
  • Show if your lungs have been harmed by substances in your workplace or home.

Our pulmonary physiology lab team performs tests such as:

  • Body plethysmography – Measures the volume of air in your lungs when you take a deep breath and how much remains after you exhale fully.
  • Diffusion study – Determines how well your lungs exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with your blood.
  • High-altitude oxygen test – Simulates an altitude of 8,000 feet (the atmospheric pressure in an airplane) to measure your breathing and determine if you need supplemental oxygen when you fly.
  • Indirect calorimetry – Measures your oxygen consumption and tells your doctor how many calories you burn at rest.
  • Pulmonary exercise test – Examines how your body responds to exercise and how much exercise is safe for you.
  • Sleep study – Monitors your breathing, heart and brain activity, muscle movements and other measurements while you sleep.
  • Spirometry – Determines how much air you can inhale into your lungs and how quickly you can blow it out.

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