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At UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, we believe parents and guardians can contribute to the success of this test and invite you to participate. Please read the following information to learn about the test and how you can help.
Pulmonary (pool-mo-NARE-ee) function tests measure how well your child’s lungs are working. They measure how fast air can flow through the airways, how much air is in the lungs and how stiff the lungs are. This information is important in diagnosing breathing problems and checking to see if current treatments are working. The results of these tests can show if your child’s lungs or airways are obstructed (blocked) in any way because of asthma or other conditions that affect breathing.
In older children who are able to follow instructions, lung function is checked through a test called spirometry, which measures breath capacity as a child blows out into a tube. When children are too young—or are unable—to follow instructions, lung function is measured with infant pulmonary function testing (iPFT). iPFT uses special equipment to measure lung function while the child is asleep. iPFTs are very safe and can be performed even on tiny babies.
When sedation medication is needed, there are important rules for eating and drinking that must be followed in the hours before the test. One business day before your child’s test, you will receive a phone call from a nurse between the hours of 1 and 9 p.m. (Nurses do not make these calls on weekends or holidays.) Please have paper and a pen ready to write down these important instructions.
The nurse will give you specific eating and drinking instructions for your child based on his or her age. Following are the usual instructions given for eating and drinking. No matter what age your child is, you should follow the specific instructions given to you on the phone by the nurse.
For children older than 12 months:
For infants under 12 months:
For all children:
Infant pulmonary function testing (iPFT) is done through the Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology at UPMC Children’s. This test may be done on its own, as part of another appointment, or while your child is a patient in the hospital.
After you have signed your child in at the Same Day Surgery registration desk, you will be asked to sit in the waiting area.
The iPFT will take place in a special procedure room. The nurse or assistant will be joined by the doctor and a respiratory therapist. The nurse will apply monitors to continuously watch your child’s heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure and oxygen level during the test. These monitors will not hurt.
The most important role of a parent or guardian during the test is to help your child stay calm and relaxed. The best way to help your child stay calm is for you to stay calm.
If your child has any special needs or health issues you feel the doctor or nurse performing the test needs to know about, please call the Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology at UPMC Children’s before the test and ask to speak with a nurse. It is important to notify us in advance about any special needs.
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
With myCHP, you can request appointments, review test results, and more.
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Interested in giving to Children's Hospital? Support the hospital by making a donation online, joining our Heroes in Healing monthly donor program, or visiting our site to learn about the other ways you can give back.