What Are The Various Lung Volumes And Capacities? What Are The Types Of Information That Can Be Gained From A Pulmonary Function Test?


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Lung volume is the total amount of air you can retain in the lungs at the end of a long, deep breath or inhalation. The total lung volume consists of other types of sub-categorized lung volumes. The four different lung capacities are Tidal volume or TV, Inspiratory reserve volume or IRV, Expiratory reserve volume or ERV, and Residual volume or RV. Of these, the first three can be measured by a spirometer; RV cannot be measured using a spirometer.

Lung capacity is a subset of the total lung volume. It consists of two or more of the four different lung volumes specified. There are also four different lung capacities – Total lung capacity or TLC, Vital capacity or VC, Functional residual capacity or FRC, and Inspiratory capacity or IC.

The pulmonary function test or PFT is not one test, but a set of tests that are performed to determine the condition of one's lungs. These tests help doctors to gain specific and accurate information that helps determine the condition of a patient's lung. There are at least 15 different tests that can be categorized as PFTs. PFTs enable doctors to determine the speed with which exhalation and inhalation happens in a patient's lungs, which is then compared to the optimum value to determine the condition of the lungs.

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