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PFT question

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#1 mando621


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Posted 24 March 2012 - 03:22 PM

I had a PFT test yesterday, and things were going well at first. I guess I have large lungs for a person my size, and the initial measurements were 130% of normal for lung volume.

Then the test for DLCO was done, and that came back at 82%. Two or three years ago the DLCO was at 88%.

The person doing the tests was saying things were all good at first and saying that I have great lungs, and then got much quieter after the diffusing part of the test. He then walked me out and said that my doctor would probably have me come back in for more testing in the future.

So I did some checking on what I could find. It looks like 80% is the cut-off for possible pulmonary hypertension. So is this bad? I think that the previous PFT with the 88% was circled and made note of. I don't like that it decreased, but at least it didn't decrease at a fast rate.


#2 Joelf


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Posted 25 March 2012 - 06:46 AM

Hi Mando,

It sounds as if the results of your PFT (pulmonary function tests) are good, similar to mine (129% / 140% predicted - DLCO 85% ) and certainly none of my consultants have been concerned that I've developed PH even when my DLCO was at it's very worst (48%). However, I do have an ECHO every year as a precaution (the result has always showed normal pulmonary arterial pressure, the last one was 20mmHg ) although the best test to diagnose PH is a right heart catheterisation. I've also included links to PH Secondary to Pulmonary Fibrosis and Prediction of pulmonary hypertension related to systemic sclerosis by an index based on simple clinical observations to give you some more information.

Another thing of which my consultants advised me was that the DLCO results can fluctuate up to 10% without it being of any significance; I have PFT's every 6 months now and my last four DLCO results have been 85%, 76%, 82% and 77% respectively and again my consultants were very pleased with each of these results and obviously were not concerned in the least about PH. I'm fortunately being treated by a top lung hospital in the UK, The Royal Brompton, so I have complete faith and confidence in their advice.

Presumably if you do have a problem with PH your doctor will be doing further tests to get a clearer picture. Of course, everybody reacts differently and I can only compare your results with my own experience, but I hope this will set some of your fears at rest.

Kind regards,

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#3 miocean


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Posted 25 March 2012 - 08:44 AM

My latest PFT done in December 2011 showed my lung function is at 55% TLC and a 38% DLCO. My diffusion has varied up to 42% over the past two years but whenever there is a change my pulmonologist has said that I could go back in and be tested again immediately and a different number might come up. This last test was done at a scleroderma center with state of the art equipment and the highest degree of accuracy. Although this function sounds low I am fortunate in that I do not desaturate. This was determined by a 6 Minute Walk Test.

I had a right heart catherization in 2010, yearly CT scans and Echo's and currently am not diagnosed with PH. My CT of 2010 showed significant increase in fibrosis from 2009. My protocol currently is quarterly visits to my local pulmonologist, yearly Echo, PFT and 6 Minute Walk at my scleroderma center. Right now they are holding off on the yearly CT scan due to concern of my exposure to radiation. When I have the yearly tests in December it will be determined whether a CT scan is needed and if questionable things turn up, another heart catherization.

I do get short of breath upon exertion but quickly recover. Do you have SOB upon laying down? That is one of the symptoms of PH. I did for a while but as I am writing this I am thinking that I may not have recently, either that or I have become so used to it that I don't think about it. I'll make note of it as I go to bed the next few days. It's interesting how we get used to things...

So Mando, keep on top of things but don't let a slight variation upset you. Sometimes just looking at a number can freak us out but the entire picture needs to be looked at. Hopefully your doctor will follow up the PFT with other testing. Keep us posted.


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#4 KayTee


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Posted 25 March 2012 - 03:16 PM

Dear Mando:
My PFT showed a DLCO of 66% several years in a row and my doctors had concerns about PH because the echoes showed higher numbers than they would have liked. However, after the right-heart catheterization they said I didn't have PH and the numbers were pretty good. I moved on to a pulmonary clinic and will have another PFT in April. One of the hardest things for me to deal with is what all the numbers mean - or sometimes don't mean. I do have shortness of breath but have learned to structure my day around activities I can do and leave breaks in there also. (Of course that doesn't work when grandkiddies are around!). Good luck.

Kay Tee

#5 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 12:23 AM

Hello Mando

Hopefully the doctor can clarify things for you. My lung function tests aren't bad but I don' think they're great either but there has never been any worry over them even when the numbers go down as long as they are within normal range, whatever that is!

Don't worry about it until the doctor tells you there is something to worry about, you can't accurately read much into the demeanour of the technician doing the test.

Take care.
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#6 mando621


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Posted 26 March 2012 - 07:31 AM

Thanks everybody. I did let myself get a little freaked about the numbers.

I have noticed that I'm dizzy once in a while when I am exerting myself, walking up a hill or singing. If I stop for a moment and take some deep breaths then I am okay.

I wouldn't say I'm short of breath really. I'm in pretty good shape even though I'm still not what I used to be.

I will wait until I hear from the doctor before completely going nuts. :)