Cough every night? cough when running? cough when laughing or crying? wheezing every time they have a "cold"? these symptoms may be normal, but they also may be symptoms of asthma
And CHAMPS Pediatrics we offer Spirometry testing for our patients (insurance restrictions may apply).
Pulmonary function tests (PFT’s) measure how well your child can move air in and out of his or her lungs. PFT’s, also called breathing tests, will help your healthcare provider tell if your child has asthma or other lung disease, how severe it is and what medications may help.
Specially trained staff will coach you and your child throughout the tests. Often the breathing tests are presented as a blowing game. Sometimes blowing a toy like a party horn can be used to help your child practice what will be done during the breathing tests. Before doing PFT’s, your child’s height will be measured because his or her lung size is related to his or her height. Your child’s test results can be compared to the results of other children of the same sex, age, and height, like the standard ranges on a growth chart.
What is spirometry?
Spirometry is the most common lung function test done. It measures how much air is moved in and out of the lungs and how fast the air moves. To get the best results, your child will be asked to follow very specific instructions. Most children can do spirometry by age 6, though some preschoolers are able to perform the test at a younger age. Your child will be asked to wear a nose clip to keep him or her from breathing through his or her nose during the test. Your child will then be asked to take in a deep breath and to blow the air out into a mouthpiece that is connected to a computer. The computer measures how much and how fast the air is blown out. Your child will repeat the test at least two times to get their best, most consistent result. This test can take up to 30 minutes to complete. Spirometry is a more accurate test to measure disease than just a peak flow reading. Your child may become tired or frustrated during the test and this is common. Sometimes it takes several visits to the office or lab to practice the test before your child can complete the test. Coughing during the test is to be expected. Tell your child that they may rest between blowing into the machine, in order to catch his or her breath. Sometimes this test is repeated after your child inhales medication. This test is called a post- bronchodilator or bronchodilator response test.
What is a post bronchodilator or bronchodilator response test?
Your healthcare provider may want to see if your child has an improvement in his or her breathing after inhaling a bronchodilator (a medicine that opens the breathing tubes). Your child will be asked to breathe in a bronchodilator medicine (usually albuterol or levalbuterol) after completing the first breathing test. About 15 minutes after taking the medicine, your child will repeat the breathing test. The results from the second test will be compared to the first test to find out if the medicine has improved your child’s breathing.
Short acting bronchodilators such as albuterol or levalbuterol or the combination inhaler albuterol/ ipratropium (Combivent®) should not be given for at least 4 hours prior to the test. Also, you may be told to stop giving your child a long acting bronchodilator (generic name/brand name) salmeterol/Serevent®, or formoterol/ Foradil® or combination inhalers that include one of these bronchodilators plus a steroid. Examples of these combinations are Advair® and Symbicort®. If your child is taking either of these medications, you may be asked not to give this medication to your child from 12 to 24 hours prior to the test.
If you are concerned about your child’s breathing, ask your healthcare provider about having your child’s lung function tested.
✔ Prepare your child for PFT’s by explaining the test before arriving at the office or lab.
✔ Ask at least 48 hours before the scheduled test if there are any medicines that should not be taken by your child before the test.
✔ Plan extra time when your child is doing lung function tests. Several tests and rest periods may be needed to get the best results.