Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) Laboratories

At our Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) Laboratories within the Division if Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), pulmonary function tests are conducted. Pulmonary function tests for children are breathing tests that measure how well your child's lungs work. They help diagnose lung disorders, like asthma.

Pulmonary function tests are particularly helpful in the diagnosis and treatment of children with airway diseases such as asthma, lung disease of prematurity, and cystic fibrosis. They are also helpful with other conditions that affect lung growth or size, including scoliosis and thoracic insufficiency syndrome. Pulmonary function tests can also determine if the airways are prone to narrowing (bronchoconstriction), which can happen in asthma.

These tests include:

  • Spirometry
  • Pre- and post-bronchodilator testing of spirometry
  • Static lung volume measurements (by plethysmography or helium dilution)
  • Diffusion capacity of the lung to carbon monoxide
  • Respiratory muscle strength
  • Bronchial challenge tests
  • Measurement of airway mechanics (resistance and compliance)
  • Lung clearance index (a measurement of obstructive lung disease)
  • Nasal and exhaled nitric oxide measurement (measure of lung inflammation)
  • Forced oscillometry (measure of airway obstruction)
  • Infant pulmonary function testing (adapted measurement of spirometry and lung volume performed under sedation)

Your child will have these tests at one of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s pulmonary function testing (PFT) labs. Our PFT labs are located at Main Campus (in the Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care) and the CHOP Specialty Care Centers in King of Prussia (Pennsylvania) and Virtua (New Jersey).

Our pulmonary function laboratories provide comprehensive state-of-the-art facilities for performing and interpreting lung function tests, including a separate lab for specialized testing of infant lung function.

Our dedicated respiratory therapists are specially trained to ensure the highest quality of testing possible while working with children who may be unfamiliar with these tests. Their training and experience helps obtain the best results while making sure your child is comfortable throughout the process.

Our labs are also involved in the research and development of new tests of lung function that will help us better measure the lung function of children throughout infancy and childhood.