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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Lung Diseases Tests & Procedures

Your doctor may conduct tests to determine the efficiency and condition of your lungs, and your overall health. These may include:

  • Blood gas test: a blood test that measures blood pH levels, as well as levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide, useful as a measure of lung efficiency and health

  • Complete blood count: this test is used to evaluate the condition of blood cells and to check for anemia

  • Comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP): the CMP is used to measure chemical and electrolyte imbalances, as well as organ function

  • Pleural fluid analysis: this test examines the causes of fluid accumulation in the pleural layer (lining between chest wall and lungs), whether the fluid is from cancer or infection

  • Lung biopsy: this test lets your doctor evaluate the damage of your lung tissue, as well as to determine whether cells are cancerous

  • Thoracotomy: is an incision used by your surgeon to evaluate and operate on your lung

In addition to tests on the condition of the lungs, there are tests your doctor may use to study the physiological function of the lungs, as well, including:

  • Incentive Spirometer: this measures the amount of air exhaled as you blow through a tube connected to a gauge; it helps your doctor assess the extent of narrowing or obstruction of your airways

  • Peak flow meter: this airflow-measuring device monitors exhalation, and is particularly useful for patients with asthma

  • Mediastinoscopy: this test involves the insertion of a tube through an incision to let your doctor examine the space between your lungs

Diagnostic imaging, using advanced technology, is often critical to effective diagnosis of lung disease, including:

  • Chest X-ray: this lets your doctor study the structure of your lungs and the condition of your thoracic cavity

  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: this cross-sectional imaging tool offers your doctor a superior image than the more traditional X-ray

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: the MRI offers your doctor another in-depth look at your lungs and chest cavity

  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan: the PET scan offers your doctor a means of diagnosing lung cancer, using a special tracer that marks cancer cells

Your doctor will discuss what diagnostic tools, tests, and scans are suitable for an accurate diagnosis of your lung disease.

Last UpdateFebruary 14, 2012