Tests and Diagnosis Part 2

This is Part 2 of Tests and Diagnosis. Here you will learn about the PFT, FEV and more.

Part 1 can be found here.

PET Scan- Positron Emission Tomography

A PET scan is an imaging test that reveals how your tissues and organs are functioning. A PET scan uses a tracer or radioactive drug to show this activity. This can sometimes detect a disease before it shows up on other imaging tests. This is often used to test the progression of cancer. I have never had the test, I know of others who have had and they have said there is nothing to it. Listening to doctors, I’m awed by everything that is seen by the pet scan.

PFT- Pulmonary Function Test

This test, also known as spirometry, is used to measure lung function. This gives your doctor valuable information on how your lungs are working and to measure lung function. Common types of lung function tests are Spirometry, Lung Plethysmography, Gas Diffusion, 6 Minute Walk, Cardiopulmonary Exercise Tests and Pulse Oximetry. With the spirometry, the readings are FEV2 and FVC:

FEV1- Forced Expiratory Volume

FEV1 is the maximum amount of air you can forcefully blow out of your lungs in one second and is measured using a spirometer. A spirometer measures pulmonary air flow by having a person blow into a plastic tube. This shows lung capacity and helps pulmonologists classify COPD patients into stages. The lower the FEV1, the more severe the disease. This is useful when comparing with standards, expected values based on a healthy person, as well as age, gender, height, and race. From the comparison, your doctor calculates a percentage, which is then used to help stage your COPD.

  • An FEV1 of more than 80 percent of the expected value means that the COPD is mild
  • An FEV1 of 50 to 80 percent means moderate COPD
  • An FEV1 of 30 to 50 percent means severe COPD
  • An FEV1 or 30 percent or less means very severe COPD

FEV1 is not used to diagnose COPD. That's determined by FVC (Forced Vital capacity), which is a measure of your vital lung capacity, all the air you can exhale in one breath. To diagnose you, your FEV1 is divided by your FVC, and the resulting percentage makes the diagnosis. Once the FEV1 drops below 70 percent of the FVC, the diagnosis of COPD is made. Then, FEV1 is used to stage it.

FVC - Forced Vital Capacity

FVC is used to diagnose COPD. This is a measure of vital lung capacity, which is all the air you can exhale in one breath.

Pulse - Heart Rate

This is the number of times your heart beats per minute. Normal heart rate varies from person to person and knowing yours can be important. To get the most accurate reading, put your finger over your pulse and count the number of beats in 60 seconds. Your resting rate is the heart pumping the lowest amount of blood you need because you’re not exercising. If you’re calmly sitting or lying down, if you’re relaxed and aren’t ill, your heart rate then is normally between 60 beats per minute and 100 beats per minute. Where to find your pulse: radial (wrist), brachial (forearm), femoral (groin); carotid (neck); popliteal (back of the knee); posterior tibial (ankle); and dorsalis pedis (foot) areas. Most likely, the pulse will be taken at your wrist, which is your radial artery.

Pulsox - Pulse Oximeter

These are medical devices that monitor levels of oxygen in a patient's blood. These devices are essential in any setting where monitoring is necessary to keep track of the patient's blood oxygen levels. They are essential for operations, emergency, intensive care, and treatment and recovery in hospital wards. More often, people are using a smaller device so that they can monitor their own oxygen levels at home, often while exercising or when they aren’t feeling well. This fits right on a finger. You can find these online, at many pharmacies and some dept. stores.

SATS - Oxygen Saturation

A measurement of your blood oxygen is called your oxygen saturation level.

SaO2- Arterial Oxygen Saturation

Sputum Culture

This is where you spit in a cup. Then it takes a few days for the bacteria to grow. Once it has, the lab techs are able to diagnose and report their findings. If you are repeatedly on antibiotics and they aren’t working, have a sputum culture done, then it will be knows what they are treating and medications can be adjusted as needed.

X-Ray - Electromagnetic Radiation

X-rays are a type of radiation called electromagnetic waves. X-ray imaging creates pictures of the inside of your body. Many have had X-Rays. You may have had an X-Ray to see if you have had a broken bone. With COPD, they will do chest x-rays to see how your lungs look, they can see the copd, pneumonia, elongated lungs and more. This is another simple test, one that you will possibly stand up for.

If you know of other abbreviations, please note them in the comment section.

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