Respiratory Function Laboratory

Lung function tests (also called respiratory function tests or pulmonary function tests) assess how well your lungs work. They can measure how well you move air in and out of your lungs, and how effectively your lungs deliver oxygen to the blood stream.

These tests are an important part of understanding any respiratory disorder. Your doctor may order a lung function test to:

  • investigate further if you are experiencing symptoms related to a respiratory disorder
  • check how well your lungs work in preparation for surgery
  • monitor the effect of chronic lung disease and check if you are responding to treatment
  • determine if exposure to substances at home or work may have harmed your lungs
  • decide if a form of treatment (e.g. a bronchodilator) could be beneficial for you

A referral from your GP or specialist is required to undergo lung function testing. You can find referral forms in the health professional section of our website.

Lung function tests at Nepean Lung and Sleep

Nepean Lung and Sleep offers a full range of lung function testing in our purpose-built laboratory using the latest diagnostic equipment.

All tests are performed by certified respiratory function scientists and clinical physiologists, according to recommendations set out by the American Thoracic Society (ATS) and European Respiratory Society (ERS).

We perform:

Spirometry (with and without a bronchodilator) – a useful test that assesses how well your airways are functioning by measuring the amount of air that flows in and out of your lungs.

Lung volume (plethysmography and nitrogen washout) – this test measures the amount of air in your lungs, including the air that remains at the end of a normal breath.

Diffusion capacity – this test looks at how well your lungs allow oxygen and carbon dioxide to pass in and out of your blood stream. It is often performed in conjunction with spirometry and lung volume testing.

Bronchoprovocation (exercise and mannitol) – measures how responsive your airways are to different ‘challenges’. This test is frequently used in cases where asthma needs to be excluded for candidates applying for the Australian Defence Force or Police Force.

Six minute walk – measures the distance you can walk in 6 minutes. This is used to assess a person’s endurance and maximum level of functional capacity.

FeNO (fractional exhaled nitric oxide) – this type of test measures how much inflammation is present in your lungs. It can help to identify, treat and manage patients who are responsive to steroid treatment.

Cardiopulmonary exercise testing – a special type of exercise test that measures your exercise ability. Information about the lungs and heart is collected during the test to determine your body’s response to exercise.

Respiratory muscle function (MIP/MEP) – this test measures how strong your lungs are. The maximum inspiratory pressure (MIP) measures the strength of your respiratory muscles when you breathe in, while the maximum expiratory pressure (MEP) measures the strength of your muscles when you breath out.

Skin prick tests – used to check the presence of allergies (for example, hay fever and asthma related allergies) by applying different substances to a small prick on your skin.