Office Services


Pulmonary Function Test (PFT)

What is the purpose of this test?

A PFT is a breathing test that tells the doctor about your lung function. The individual lung tests are as follows:

  • Spirometry- measures how well you move air in and out of your lungs and how fast you can blow air out of your lungs.
  • Diffusion- measures how well your lungs deliver oxygen to your blood.
  • Lung Volumes- measure the volume of air you have in your lungs at different stages of your breathing pattern.
  • Airway resistance- measures pressure in your lungs.

Your doctor may only order one of these tests, but most often he/she orders a complete PFT, which includes all four tests. Each test is repeated at least two times to indicate reproducibility.

What preparation is needed for the test?

You may be asked to skip your aerosolized breathing treatment four hours prior to the PFT. Otherwise there is no preparation for the test.

What will happen during the test?

You will sit in a chair in front of a breathing circuit and will be instructed to perform different breathing maneuvers. Some of the breathing maneuvers you will be asked to do include: breath normally, take some deep breaths in and out, blow out forcefully, pant and hold your breath. You will be given a breathing treatment with a medication during the test and then asked to repeat one of the tests following the treatment.

How will I feel during the test?

You may become lightheaded or dizzy at times, but usually there are no other symptoms experienced during the tests.

How long will the test take?

It usually takes about an hour to complete a PFT. The time varies based on which tests the doctor has ordered and how well you can follow the instructions for each test. You may resume your normal activity and medication after the test.

When will I know the results of the test?

Your pulmonologist will interpret or read the exam. The doctor will discuss your results at your next office visit.

Further questions?

Should you have any questions regarding the pulmonary function test, please contact the PFT department at 281-713-8676.

Thank you for choosing Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Specialists as your choice for your exam.


6 minute walk test

A 6 minute walk test, also known as a pulmonary stress test, is a test performed to determine the severity of a patient’s dyspnea level. During this test the patient will walk their normal pace on a flat surface for 6 minutes. During the walk, the blood oxygen level will be checked periodically throughout the test to determine if a patient needs supplemental oxygen. If the blood oxygen saturation level drops below 88% the patient will be placed on oxygen with a nasal cannula and continue walking. This will help determine if the patient needs to be placed on supplemental oxygen at home.


Flu Vaccine

Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Even healthy people can catch the flu and become very ill and even spread it to others. Flu vaccines work by causing antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. It is important to get a flu vaccine every 12 months during the flu season (from Fall through early Spring).


Nebulizer treatment

A nebulizer is a device that changes a medication from a liquid to a mist so that is easily inhaled into the lungs. Nebulizer treatments are most commonly used by asthma patients, young and small children, and for those who have difficulty using an inhaler. A nebulizer treatment can also be called a “breathing treatment”. In order to get a nebulizer machine, you need a prescription from your doctor. Most insurance companies cover the expense of the nebulizer, but without insurance the machine can cost anywhere from $50 to $250.


Peak Flow Measurement

Peak flow measurement is the maximum flow rate generated during a forceful exhalation. Peak flow rate monitoring can be performed by most patients from ages 5 years and older. It is most commonly measured by a portable flow gauge device called a peak flow meter. This tool is most commonly used for asthma patients to help manage their asthma symptoms and to help their doctor to best treat them. To use this device you will inhale as deeply as you can, filling your lungs to full capacity. You then place the mouth piece into your mouth and exhale as forcefully and as fast as you can. It is best to get a peak flow measurement before AND after you take a breathing treatment or use an inhaler. Keep a written log of your recordings to show your doctor at your next office visit.


CPAP and Mask Desensitization

CPAP or mask desensitization is used for those who have difficulty adjusting to their new CPAP machine or mask, especially those with claustrophobia or anxiety. The purpose of this procedure is to help patients who are intolerable to the machine or those having difficulties, overcome these issues. This typically is done in the sleep lab with a sleep technician who will first review with you the issues you are having and ask you a series of questions. The technician will help you find the ideal mask that fits you most comfortably. Once a comfortable mask is selected, the CPAP will be administered and the technician will observe you for about 15-30 minutes. If the patient is not able to tolerate the new mask or the CPAP settings that have been prescribed, the physician will be notified to determine other treatment options.


Mask Fit

A proper mask fit for a patient on a CPAP machine is very important. Sometimes patients have a hard time adjusting to wearing this device while sleeping and cannot get used to the apparatus on their face while trying to sleep. Usually when a patient goes through a sleep study and a CPAP machine has been ordered, the patient will be given the same mask as they wore during their study. Sometimes it is hard to tell if you will like a certain mask until you have worn it a few nights with the CPAP device. Some signs that your mask does not fit properly can be: waking up with dry mouth, hearing or feeling air coming out of the sides of your mask, feeling air leak into your eyes or a large leak is shown on your compliance download. Let your doctor know if you feel your mask is not fitting properly and you can be fitted with a new mask. There are MANY various types and brands of masks that you can chose from.


Compliance Download

A compliance download is a report or summary of your usage with your CPAP machine. Many insurance companies (especially medicare) require a download of a patient’s compliance report to determine the need of the CPAP device and the need for supplies for their machine. Typically the compliance download will show the AHI (apnea hypopnea index), leak, percentage and hours of usage each night. The report will also show if you have a large amount of leak to determine if your mask is fitting properly or is adequate enough. Most insurance companies require a minimal usage of 70% and at least 4 hours of usage every night. Most CPAP machines have the ability to be downloaded to give the compliance report. Most CPAP machines contain an SD memory card and some machines have a modem which allows your doctor to retrieve the data from the CPAP device. The compliance download is very helpful for your doctor to determine if your settings are adequate for treatment of your sleep apnea.