Breathing test: Hi everyone well had my... - British Lung Foun...

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Breathing test

Pokermon profile image

Hi everyone well had my first adult breathing test today. Well very diferent from children's ones these were very hard hated that mouth peice I had to use. Afraid I panicked and couldn't do one of the test in the big glass box so they did it on another machine but it was hard. Mum asked about results but apparently they have to work them all out so none the wiser but glad there over. Hope you are all keeping well.

50 Replies

Are you talking about the test where you blow, the one were it seems there is no air at all, but you have to keep trying?

Pokermon profile image
Pokermon in reply to Ern007

One was like that and another where you just breath and breath and then ush against something seemed to last forever.

Sorry you had such a difficult experience Pokermon but as you say, it’s over now. Hope the results, when you get them, are ok. Take care xxxx

Well done Pokerman,it can be quite a daunting exprience the first time you do them but you gave it your best puff,many people far older than you panic in the glass cabinet and there are alternative tests as you say.Hoping the results all come back as near normal as possible!

Best wishes Ski's and Scruff's


Ern007 profile image
Ern007 in reply to skischool

To be honest skischool I found the dome far less intimidating than Spirometry which makes me dizzy, Breathing against what seemed to be a brick wall, for me was the only difficult part..

skischool profile image
skischool in reply to Ern007

I think a lot depends on the technician doing the tests,some are far more relaxed about the procedure and less dramatic with the blow.blow.blow rhetoric which makes it far more easier for me to handle Ern.🙃

Ern007 profile image
Ern007 in reply to skischool

I know what you mean,Skis Same applies to radiologist who handles CT and PET Scans - Some can put you at ease, some don't even try.

I had a spirometry myself back in 2018 at outpatients after I had a blood clot in the lungs and I had to blow into a machine which wasn't very nice!

My results were fine and I ended up being discharged from the clinic and I had cried in relief when they gave me the form to hand into reception to say I had been discharged from the clinic.

I remember that glass dome like you I panicked my breathing was all over the place put on my inhaler. My results were fine so fingers crossed for you.

Well done you for doing the whole lot in a way that they (the computer) will be able to work out the results. I have known the team at my hospital since 1980 and they tell me that so many people can't ever do them properly. The more you do them the more you will relax into it. As you said, they can do another test instead of going in the box and if you don't want to do it tell them before they ask you to go into the box. Just take your time and don't let anybody rush you. To blow your best you have to be able to concentrate. Our lot are trained to shout blow blow blow whilst you are doing it. It drives me nuts so as soon as I sit down I say just tell me when you want me to start ,how you want me to breathe and blow and when to stop. And DON'T shout at me. The ones who know me are ready for it before I walk in the room.🤣I hate the mouthpiece too because I have a very little mouth.

Well done again. One of the changes to adult services is the fact that you are not a child to be told what to do but a person who decides what they want and it is ok to make it clear to everybody who deals with you.


teenieleek profile image
teenieleek in reply to Littlepom

I’m glad to hear there are others like me who just can’t manage it. I even felt my head and neck were at the wrong angle. There was no sympathy; “this is the same mouthpiece children use” I was told.

Pokermon profile image
Pokermon in reply to teenieleek

Well it was diferent to the one I usually used . Has made me feel very tired today and throat is feeling weird.

teenieleek profile image
teenieleek in reply to Pokermon

Yes, I didn’t believe her about children. Take it easy today, I was a bit breathless the day after.

Littlepom profile image
Littlepom in reply to Pokermon

You are feeling tired because you put so much effort into doing it right and also because it stressed you I guess. It always wears me out as well. I hate it but we know that it is a necessary evil so try to do our best. You are a star. Have no doubt about it!

Jk1957 profile image
Jk1957 in reply to Littlepom

Hi Littleom Do you ever find it can set the lungs off bleeding again ? This is always my worry as I’m so prone to it & when it’s settled I appreciate a run of even a few weeks in between . Only thing that settles mine is rest in combination with anti biotic which I usually need also

Littlepom profile image
Littlepom in reply to Jk1957

People with bronchiectasis are prone to bleeding, usually because of the presence of infection during an exacerbation and also because the damage to our lungs can result in various blood vessels becoming weakened if it is severe enough. Usually, although not nice to see, it is far less than it looks because a tiny bit goes a long way when mixed with mucus. As you say, a good dose of the right antibiotic usually sorts it. I have known that my scans showed weakened blood vessels for a good few years but any blood has been slight. The two bigger bleeds that I have had definitely seemed to have a different cause. I had quite a bleed ( in the loo in IKEA) a few years ago of dark blood but it stopped and I didn't go to hospital. I was taking anticoagulants for AF at the time so refused to take them from then on with the cooperation of my cardiologist. Last November I had a bigger bleed of bright red blood and was blue lighted to hospital. In hindsight I would probably have been better at home as they gave me no treatment to stop the blood and left me 13 hrs alone in A&E. It gradually stopped by itself. I am convinced that it was due to a drug called entresto which I had recently started for my heart failure. It relaxes the blood vessels. I stopped taking it immediately. I am now waiting to see a specialist who maybe wants to ablate some of these blood vessels but I doubt if I will go for it.

Since I stopped the drug in nov I have seen no blood at all so🤞I was right and I have gone back to normal. Back to your question about the tests. I haven't ever bled after the tests but I can see that if you have some weak little vessels from a recent bleed the strain could set it off again. We are all so different. If you are taking abs or have recently had some bleeding when they capl you for tests I think that it would be a good thing to tell them in case you should defer the tests.

Jk1957 profile image
Jk1957 in reply to Littlepom

Thank you Littlepom . Your answers are always so comprehensive . I follow your thread always . I suppose I’m lucky I don’t have any heart or other issues . It makes perfect sense to me that blood vessels may be weaker after lots of bleeds . I really believe that to be the position in my case . If I get over tired I feel it sparks a bleed which in turn often leads to an infection . Very regularly I see blood in my sputum & it settles in a day or two but no surety of pattern there either. I feel I’m always on tender hooks & find it more difficult to plan far in advance any more Many thanks Littlepom .

I’m due to get my first pzitzer vaccine this weekend TG

Littlepom profile image
Littlepom in reply to Jk1957

It’s a bummer isn’t it. Maybe you could ask your consultant if a ct scan may show any particular blood vessel which is causing this frequent bleeding. There are specialist radiographers who identify the vessel and can ablate it -seal it off. Mine would be complex due to the position of my damaged vessels which is why I may refuse. In your case it may be one little devil and if they can seal it off it would solve the problem. It doesn’t hurt to ask.Good luck with the vaccine. I had my second AZ today so waiting to see if my body dislikes it as much as it did the first.

Jk1957 profile image
Jk1957 in reply to Littlepom

Thank you SO much Littlepom . This is such a supportive forum

I do t like going n the booth either. When I do spirometry they don’t make me go in the box any.more.I find the. Outs piece hard as well, I asked for a softer one,but they said there weren’t any.

Next time you go,ask how your results compare from this time to next time.

Mine is all’s stored on the system from when I went to this hospital.

What I do now is tell them that I’m nervous and ask them to keep repeating the Instructions as I forget (I do honestly) I find it is easier this way.

Since I’ve been going to Wythenshawe hospital they haven’t put me in the glass box.

If they did ask me to go in it I’m going to say I’m claustrophobic, I am a bit,so it’s not a lie.

Take care.

Skylark3 profile image
Skylark3 in reply to Oshgosh

When I did the lung function tests I went into the glass box which housed the tanks of oxygen etc. but the door to the box was left open, so there is that option. I too felt nervous about it all and wish I had done what you do and asked him to keep repeating the instructions - that's a great idea. But to be honest, at the time I was more worried about catching Covid from the hospital than anything else!

Oshgosh profile image
Oshgosh in reply to Skylark3

The.ast 2 spirometry tests I easked them to keep repeating the instructions,my concentration is poor at the best of times. Docs blame medication.

It’s lot easier to do when they keep repeating instructions

It did help that both the technicians were very pleasant and empathetic.

Well done for getting through and doing the bits you could! It sounds a bit daunting! Hope it’s not too long before you get results! xxx 😘

Hi pokermon, it's not a very nice experience, I know that the 1st time you don't know what to expect and having them yearly it gets easier knowing what you have to do but still not something to look forward to. Good luck with your results

Skylark3 profile image
Skylark3 in reply to B0xermad

Boxermad, from your reply to Pokermon, does it mean that we get to do the lung function tests once a year? (I have COPD)

B0xermad profile image
B0xermad in reply to Skylark3

Well it depends upon your consultant, I do apart from 2020 due to covid restrictions but I have copd, asthma and bronchiectasis so not sure if it's just me or everyone

Ern007 profile image
Ern007 in reply to B0xermad

Since COVID my LFR has been done by phone. I have COPD and Asthma and some scaring,,

ninelives profile image
ninelives in reply to B0xermad

Great reply.A new consultant had the grace to look sheepish when the reply to his "when were your last breathing tests done?" And I replied 15 years ago......!

B0xermad profile image
B0xermad in reply to ninelives

Omg that's a long time

Sounds an awful experience. Well done for going through it all and coming out the other side with enough data for them to give you the results soon. All the best for those.

Hi Pokerman. I am intrigued to know about the 'glass box' as I have not experienced anything like that. Clearly other people have and I am wondering what its purpose is as I haven't encountered anything remotely like a glass box since I've been treated by the consultant (6 yrs now).

I'm pleased you got through the first hurdle. I'm sure adult services must be a bit different from what you've been used to but as Littlepom said, now you are not a child, you are able to have more say in what goes on.

More info about 'the glass box' please! xx Moy

Pokermon profile image
Pokermon in reply to MoyB

It's like a telephone box but clear glass I think it seals in the air something like that not all hospitals have them this one has been at this hospital only couple of years

MoyB profile image
MoyB in reply to Pokermon

Ooer! I've certainly not come across one at our hospital. I'm not sure I want to either. I'm now wondering what the advantage is of doing the test in a sealed box. I'll have to investigate further, just out of interest.Thanks for letting me know about it.

xx Moy

Sops profile image
Sops in reply to MoyB

Glad you asked, I have never seen a glass box, just have the tube and shots of blow , blow, blow!my mouth is small and it feels really stretched.

Ern007 profile image
Ern007 in reply to Pokermon

It is sealed and in the 1990's when I last went in the space-ship, temp was set at 80 deg F

vwtopaz profile image
vwtopaz in reply to MoyB

Hi MoyB shared this for you:Body Box – also known as plethysmography, is done while sitting in an enclosed clear chamber while asked to perform a series of very small panting breaths. This is the most accurate way to measure lung volumes

Glad to say I have not required this.

MoyB profile image
MoyB in reply to vwtopaz

Thank you very much. It's always good to know what's going on and I like to keep informed so that if I'm asked to take a test, I know what to expect and what they may be looking for.

A quick search for plethysmography turned up the following patient info leaflet and I thought I'd post it here as I found it interesting - particularly the list referring to whether or not you should take your meds on the day of your test and how many hours you should leave between those you can take and having your test. It's information I didn't know about and have always taken my usual inhalers on the day of my test (the list says I should not take them for 24hrs! I have never been told that.)

I think I'll put this on a separate post too, as it may be helpful to others.

xx Moy

Well done Pokermon good on you getting through the daunting tests we have take because of our dodgy lungs. Hope the results are satisfactory love Barbs x

Those in-depth lung function tests are not very pleasant, but at least they give a good overview of your lung function - much more comprehensive than the usual spirometry. Hope you don't have to wait too long for your results x

Skylark3 profile image
Skylark3 in reply to Dedalus

Dedalus, could you please tell me, what's the difference between lung function tests and spirometry test?

Dedalus profile image
Dedalus in reply to Skylark3

The spirometry is the test where you blow into a mouthpiece. Lung function tests cover more tests (more comprehensive).

Mijmijkey74 profile image
Mijmijkey74 in reply to Dedalus

Odd as l recently had as worded on the letter - Full lung function tests. I was blowing into a pipe/tube with a mouth piece on it, a nose clip holding my nose shut. Sat in a chair and the pipe/tube wired up to a machine that took readings that looked like what would be seen on a heart monitor when testing rhythm for dips and peaks mixed in with what looked like brain waves on a screen.

Lung function and spirometry are often used interchangeably. You have formal spirometry, where you blow into an arm with a mouthpiece attached to a computer or set up permanently stationed in a room somewhere, and then you have portable spirometry, where it’s done in places like outpatients or on a ward with a machine usually no bigger than a very fat laptop. Formal spirometry rigs can give more information than a portable one, particularly in relation to gas transfer, and are also considered more accurate in so far as we know portable can be out by up to 5% for the absolute (litre) figures they produce. If you go into a lab to do a variety of different tests in addition to spirometry, like pleth etc., this is full pulmonary function testing, but also sometimes referred to as full lung function. Which tests you do will depend on your diagnosis and any clinical concerns.

With regards to the test you had, what you had done will depend on what you actually did with your breathing. If you only did a series of 3 to 6 blows, blowing out for as long and as hard as you can each time, that would be formal spirometry. If you were asked to do other modes of breathing through the mouthpiece, like rapid breathing, holding your breath when instructed, or steady tidal breathing without a long hard blow at the end, that would indicate you had something closer to pulmonary function.

Thank you that is informative information to know.As for my what they classed as full lung function test/s it was the latter. Guessing closer to the latter pulmonary function even though it said full lung and nothing about pulumonary. Hrd heart failure when woke out of a coma 3 years ago, but that wasn't the reason for my induced coma. HF was caused by unknown, unfound virus/bacteria/infection. They knew it there present but couldn't locate and they had no name for it. Went in with massive asthma attack that made me bexome to critical to be moved. I still don't fully understand why i was intubated as do remember some of the lead up to it and being told they were going to put me to sleep because to critical to be moved to try save my life, that l might die but they were going to do everything they possibly couud for me to save my life that l was in good hands and would be well taken care of, not to worry, close eyes think of happy memories and the person wno told me all that held my hand the whole time. Id was a massive asthma attack and having that saved my life as my heart was failing and my body slowly shutting down. I had been very poorly at home prior to massive asthma attack. Had been to. A&E just hours before in the previous night and treated disgustingly. 😠 Should have been admitted there and then l was so desperately poorly. After coma when finally home and being treated as an outpatient just as l still am being. The cardiologist told mekthe asthma attack saved my life as my body was failing, slowly shutting down, he said l probably would have gone to sleep one night soon then, had l not had the AA and never woken up again. Died in my sleep. The massive asthma attack almost took my life, wasn't expected to survive, that l didn't know, but going into it l knew l was extremely critically poorly and needed to fight with everything l had and more. Though l certainly would have definitely died at home on my sofa unable to move from it as so poorly in my sleep and alone. I wouldn't be here now. Not though entirely sure l really do want to be here. Nobody gives a toss about my existence whether alive or not. At least in my coma l was shrouded and embraced with the purest most untainted love not ever found on earth.

Well done you! I made a mess of my last visit. The horrible mouth piece seemed to make it impossible for me to blow and I got quite stressed so even harder to blow.

My last lung function test was in the box. It was horrid due to the technician. I told my husband she had the bedside manner of a slug! Also the clinic was situated at the furthest point of the hospital. It took us ages to walk through the hospital so I was shattered. My next will hopefully be at at my local hospital with a better trained technician.

vwtopaz profile image
vwtopaz in reply to Karenanne61

That’s an awful experience, thankfully I have only encountered respiratory physiologist’s with good manners, I did once feel a male nurse who took my observations at a chest clinic’s manner appalling, 3 wks later I had an outpatient appointment with Rheumatologist..... same nurse taking my observations, I kindly advised him of my previous visit and his attitude towards me.Reminding him of his duty of care how the trust values patient opinions, It felt good.

Karenanne61 profile image
Karenanne61 in reply to vwtopaz

Sometimes I think medics forget, or don't understand, how scary some equipment and tests can be. They see and use it everyday so it is common place to them. My daughter had to have electrodes on her eyes but the two doctors told her they had used the probes on themselves to better understand the patient experience. She said they were kind and funny.

Hi Pokermon. Well done for getting that first test session over. A kind nurse found me a child's mouthpiece, because I couldn't blow properly into the adult's. Might be worth asking next time if like me you have a dainty mouth. I felt like Adolf Eichmann, 'The Man in the Glass Box' when I was put in a glass box- not good. Best wishes - I hope the results will be all you could ask for. xxx

I would agree! My test was ghastly too; I felt my lungs were exploding! I had a series of 9 various strength fine powders, which had to be breathed in at intervals for up to 50 minutes. Yes, it takes a while for all tests to be collated, before a result can be obtained.

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