Plethysmography Test


Definition - What does Plethysmography Test mean?

Plethysmography test, also called body plethysmography, is a pulmonary function test (PFT) that measures the total lung capacity (TLC), or the cumulative amount of air inside the lungs following deep inhalation. A respiratory technician employs the plethysmography test as an adjunct modality combined with other PFT testing procedures, for example, spirometry, in determining the relative health of lung tissue against baseline metrics.

WorkplaceTesting explains Plethysmography Test

When undergoing plethysmography testing, a patient sits or stands inside a small, pressurized chamber where the breathing pattern fluctuations serve as a benchmark for evaluating the contraction and resilience of the lungs during respiration. While TLC variables are a critical aspect, respiratory technicians also account for functional residual capacity (FRC) and residual capacity (RC) in calibrating the proportionate amount of air that remains in the lungs after normal exhalation (FRC) and maximal exhalation (RC). Both the mouthpiece fitting and the pressure inside the chamber are specially equipped to conform to the volume of gases from the respiratory cycle for accurate readings.

The vitality of lung tissue plays a crucial role in helping neutralize airborne pollutants that enter the body via inhalation, carrying epidemiological health risks where individuals become susceptible to obstructive and restrictive lung diseases. Plethysmography testing is a viable avenue for helping diagnose pulmonary conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in conjunction with tracking their prognosis, which inhibits airflow over time. Given the homeostatic function of the lungs, test result anomalies that indicate airway blockage may prompt physicians to administer bronchodilators to facilitate the gaseous exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, in turn, preventing antigens from entering the bloodstream.

In the workplace, environmental conditions pose health hazards where overexposure to particulate matter (PM) including dust, fumes, and vapors can compromise the airway of the lungs. Lung volume deficiency can be characteristic of perpetual symptoms including coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing where a plethysmography test can provide input of etiological implications. Health and safety guidelines that cover personal protective equipment (PPE) and respiratory protection plans are effective strategies against overexposure to contaminants.

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