Lung Volumes

This test measures the total size of your lungs (i.e. how big they are), and how the air is distributed through the lungs. By performing this test, we can determine if diease is causing your lung tissue to be distorted out of its normal shape or under-utilised, if the disease is causing the lung tissue to become floppy, or if the tissue is stiffer than it should be. There are different techniques that may be used to measure your lungs, namely Helium Dilution and Whole Body Plethysmography.

Helium Dilution

Helium In LungsFor this procedure, you will be asked to breathe normally for 2 to 5 minutes from the equipment.

You will be seated and your nose will be sealed with a noseclip. You will breathe a gas mixture containing Helium (He).

You will experience no side effects from breathing this gas.

At the end of the test you will be asked to breathe in deeply and then to blow out as much as possible.

Please click on the link to see a short video clip of a Helium Dilution test being performed.

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Whole Body Plethysmography

Body BoxFor this procedure, you will be asked to sit in a special box/cubicle.

The door will be closed and the Physiologist will talk to you via an intercom.

You will be asked to breathe into a mouthpiece with your palms resting gently on your cheeks. You will be instructed to gently pant in and out against a closed shutter.

At the end of the test you will be asked to breathe in deeply and then to blow out as much as possible.

This will be performed 3 to 5 times.

If you feel claustrophobic in the box/cubicle, you can open the door from the inside.

Please click on the link to see a short video clip of a Plethysmography test being performed.

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