UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Hospital

Pulmonary Function Testing

Pulmonary function tests help determine the condition of the lungs. Testing is performed by breathing through a mouthpiece so that the amount and speed of the air exhaled can be measured. Most tests take between 30 minutes and one hour.

Scheduled for a test?

Testing is ordered by a doctor and scheduled through St. Luke's Centralized Scheduling at (319) 369-8129. When you come for your appointment, register at the outpatient registration desk at the main entrance of the hospital. Please wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes. You may eat a light meal before the procedure. Please bring a copy of your medications with you. The methacholine challenge testing does require special preparation by the patient.

The results are interpreted by a pulmonologist and sent to your doctor who will discuss your test results with you.

Procedures

Methacholine Challenge Testing

Methacholine challenge testing is used to diagnose reactive airway disease. During the testing you will breathe in a medication called methacholine and perform repeat testing to see how the medication affects you.

  • You should not have any respiratory illnesses for four weeks before testing to ensure accurate test results.
  • Do not have caffeine for 24 hours before the test. It can interfere with the actions of the methacholine. Coffee, cola, chocolate, tea, cocoa or over the counter medications containing caffeine should be avoided.
  • Bronchodilator medications such as inhalers should not be used 14 hours before testing. Your doctor has a list of all these medications.
  • Antihistamine medication should not be taken 36-48 hours before testing.
  • If you are on a steroid medication you should be on a stable dose before testing.

Pulmonary Exercise Stress Testing

Pulmonary exercise stress tests are used to assess the way the body works during exercise. The test measures the amount of air the patient breathes and how the heart is working during exercise. You will ride a stationary bike during the test and a doctor is present for the stress part of the test. Blood samples are collected with this test to measure the oxygen in your blood.

  • Eat only a light meal before testing.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothes and shoes that you can ride a bicycle for the test. Patches will be placed on your chest to monitor your heart.

For more information or questions email us or call (319) 369-7527.