If your child is having trouble breathing, a lung function test is one of the best ways to figure out what’s happening. A lung function test can help determine if, and what kind of, medical condition your child has that impairs their breathing.
One common question parents and caregivers have is what the next step is if the lung function test reading is abnormal. Pediatric care providers Rainilda Valencia, MD, Micaela Marin-Tucker, PA-C, and Megan Reynolds, C-PNP, of Valencia Pediatrics in Victorville, California, unpack what happens next when your child’s lung function test shows an issue.
What is a lung function test?
Lung function tests measure various aspects of your child’s lungs and their capacity. These include their lung volume and ability to breathe in and exhale efficiently and effectively.
A lung function test is a diagnostic tool for a number of conditions that impact breathing in some form. We order this test for your child if you or our team suspect they have a condition like asthma.
A lung function test takes place at the Valencia Pediatrics offices and is a noninvasive procedure that requires your child to exhale, breathe in, or hold their breath using a machine. Lung function tests aren’t painful and only require your child to put effort into breathing in and out of the mouthpiece to their greatest capabilities.
After the lung function test
Lung function test results take a few days for our team to obtain and analyze. Once we’ve reviewed the data, we contact you to discuss your child’s test findings.
There’s no such thing as failing a lung function test, but your child can get a reading we consider abnormal. An abnormal reading depends on what results we expect for your child’s age, gender, and overall size.
Next steps after an abnormal lung function result
The next steps we take when your child’s lung function result is abnormal depend on the issue their test reveals. Sometimes, we repeat the test or order further tests to clarify your child’s diagnosis and treatment plan.
If your child’s abnormal test result determines a definitive issue, this usually means they either have an obstructive or restrictive lung condition.
Obstructive lung disease
Medical conditions that are obstructive mean your child has a difficult time passing air in and out of their lungs. Asthma is the most well-known obstructive lung disease, but your child could also have a condition like emphysema or chronic bronchitis.
Restrictive lung disease
A restrictive lung condition prevents your child from expanding either their lungs or surrounding chest muscles enough to get adequate air into their bloodstream. Pulmonary fibrosis, scleroderma, and sarcoidosis are examples of restrictive lung diseases.
If we diagnose your child with a lung condition, our team develops a treatment plan to manage their symptoms. Depending on the condition they have, treatment can include inhalers, medication, and exercises.
Our team monitors your child through regular appointments and follow-up lung function tests to ensure their condition remains managed effectively.
If your child is having any problems with breathing, our team can recommend testing and a treatment program for relief. Contact us for advice and to make your child’s appointment by calling our office today.