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Pulmonary Services


Are you short of breath or have difficulty breathing? Mariners Hospital Cardiopulmonary Services Department treats the full range of respiratory conditions with a comprehensive program of diagnosis, education and therapy for inpatients. We have an outpatient program as well. Special focus areas include asthma, sleep disorders and shortness of breath.

Arterial Blood Gases (ABG)
A test for direct measurement of PH, PCO2, PO2, oxygen saturation, as well as other lung function parameters, is called an arterial blood gas (ABG). For this test, a small sample of blood is drawn directly out of an artery. Most routine blood tests use blood that is drawn out of a vein, so this test is a little different. The artery that is sampled most often is the radial artery in your wrist, the one that you can feel when you take your pulse. The test takes only a few minutes, and results are faxed immediately to your physician's office.

Pulmonary Function Tests
The tests listed below are types of Pulmonary Function Tests, which are done in a special laboratory. During the test, you will be instructed to breathe in and out through a tube that is connected to different machines.

Flow Volume Loop (FVL) is a basic test to check for obstructive lung disorders such as asthma and emphysema, or restrictive disorders such as pulmonary fibrosis. This test is done to measure how forcefully you are able to inhale and exhale when you are trying to take as large a breath as possible. This test is also required to meet Medicare guidelines for Pulmonary Rehabilitation and usually takes about 20 minutes.

Complete Pulmonary Function Test (CPFT) is a more thorough diagnostic pulmonary function test that includes:

  • FVL (flow volume loop)
  • SVC (slow vital capacity) measures the total amount of air that can be exhaled slowly after a deep breath. In certain lung diseases this measurement is quite different than the FVL. 
  • MVV (maximum voluntary ventilation) is the measurement of the largest volume of air that can be breathed per minute by voluntary effort.
  • DLCO (single breath diffusion capacity), which tests your lungs efficiency at delivering oxygen and other gases to your bloodstream. A small quantity of carbon monoxide (too small to do any harm) is breathed in and the amount you breathe out will be measured and compared. The ability to absorb carbon monoxide into the blood is representative of your ability to absorb other gases such as oxygen.
  • TGV (thoracic gas volume) and RAW (airway resistance) tests are used to calculate the amount of air you are breathing. You will sit inside an airtight cubicle that looks like a phone booth and breathe in and out through a mouthpiece. The air pressure inside the box will change with your breathing because your chest expands and contracts while you breathe. This pressure change can be measured and used to calculate the amount of air you must be breathing.