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The assessment of lung function using body plethysmography, spirometry, diffusion measurement and spiroergometry plays an important role in pneumological, cardiological and general medical diagnostics. In spite of the availability of large amounts of high quality literature, the safe interpretation of findings and diagnostics may often be difficult in everyday practice, especially for newcomers to this particular field.

It is not the primary aim of this project to gather, compile and comprehend the underlying technical principles and elaborate or highly specialized findings in pulmonary function tests in all their complexity - but rather, to provide an overview of the practically relevant aspects of pulmonary function tests in order to allow the safe assessment of commonly observed findings for those with little or no previous experience in this area. After all, we also drive cars without necessarily understanding the technical interrelations in great detail.

Figure whole-body plethysmograph

The systematic approach to lungfunction diagnostics in seven easy steps

1) Spirometry: qualitative assessment: flow-volume curve / volume-time curve
2) Spirometry: quantitative assessment (graduation of ventilation disturbances)
3) Body plethysmography: residual volume
4) Body plethysmography: flow-pressure-curve
5) Functional tests: broncholysis and unspecific provocation
6) Transfer factor (TLCO)
7) Blood gas analysis

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