Lab tests available

Spirometry – The aim of spirometry is to aid diagnosis and assess severity of patients with COPD and other respiratory conditions. It can also be used as part of a pre-operative assessment before a patient can go for surgery.

Full Lung Function test – The aim of a full lung function test is to assess the condition of the lung with 3 different tests; spirometry, transfer factor and lung volumes.

Methacholine challenge – The aim of a methacholine challenge test is to measure the hyper responsiveness of the airways. This is quite a complex and specific test to help with diagnosis and management of airways disease.

Induced Sputum – The aim of sputum induction is to obtain satisfactory samples of sputum originating from the small airways. Analysis of the sample is looking for eosinophils, neutrophils, macrophages and epithelial cells.

Skin allergy test – Skin prick testing is a method of determining allergies to specific allergens. The allergens most commonly used are aspergillus, house dust mite, grass, trees, cat and dog.

Capillary Blood Gas – Blood gas sampling plays a vital role in diagnosis of clinical problems and monitoring of possible treatments such as supplemental oxygen or assisted ventilation. Blood gases reflect the ability of the cardiopulmonary system to maintain the relationship between supply of oxygen and elimination of carbon dioxide via the lungs

Walking test – The aim of this field exercise test is to assess exercise tolerance by measuring heart rate and oxygen levels along with perceived breathlessness and fatigue whilst walking in a controlled environment.

Exercise test (Cardiopulmonary Exercise Test) – This is a non-invasive method used to assess the performance of the heart and lungs at rest and during exercise, usually using a bike.

Exercise Induced Asthma – An exercise induced asthma test involves some simple breathing tests after exercising on a bike to measure bronchial hyper responsiveness. It can be used as a tool for diagnosis in patients suspected of having asthma.

Overnight oximetry – Overnight oximetry test involves a patient wearing a monitor overnight. This will record oxygen levels and heart rate whilst a patient is sleeping to help diagnose sleep disordered breathing.

CPAP treatment – CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is the standard treatment for obstuctive sleep apnoea. This is usually offered to patients after an initial diagnostic sleep test.

NIV treatment – NIV (Non-invasive ventilation) is a treatment to help with your breathing. If your breath­ing becomes difficult and your muscles tire or are become weak then NIV can help to ensure there isn’t a build of CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the blood.

Muscle strength tests – There are a range of methods to assess muscle strength, in the Somerset Respiratory Centre the tests routinely used are erect and supine spirometry to measure diaphragmatic strength using vital capacity and mouth pressures to measure global muscle strength

Nebuliser Trial – A Nebuliser delivers a therapeutic dose of a desired drug as a mist that is inhaled over a fairly short period of time. A 4 week trial is typically carried out for 2 reasons; to assess how the patient feels using the nebuliser and to ensure that the right drug is prescribed by measuring peak flow regularly.

Exhaled Nitric Oxide Fraction (FeNO) – This test measures the level of nitric oxide in your exhaled breath, which is a sign of inflammation in your lungs. This is a simple test which is easy to repeat on regular visits to assess and manage airways disease.

Fit to fly (Not on NHS – private basis) – The hypoxic challenge (fit to fly) test aims to determine the level of hypoxia that occurs in a patient when flying. This particular test is not covered by our trust as a diagnostic test therefore there is a charge if a patient wishes to be assessed.

Reversibility test – The aim of a reversibility test is to see if your lung function improves with medication (bronchodilator), and if so, by how much. It also helps to distinguish between a diagnosis of asthma and COPD.

Inpatient sleep study – This is an overnight investigation carried out in the hospital. Oxygen levels and heart rate will be recorded along with your movements and breathing pattern during sleep. More complex studies may also involve monitoring the stages of your sleep if necessary (polysomnography). Overnight oximetry is normally done prior to this test.