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Disciplines: Respiratory Therapy
Hours: 1 Contact Hour
Author(s): Lisa Conry, MA, RRT
Peer Reviewer(s): David W. Chang, EdD, RRT
Item#: V7275
Contents: 1 Course Book (52 pages)

Pulmonary Function Testing, 2nd Edition

Price $9.95
Item # V7275
When available, the Online Course format is included with the hard copy, eBook, or audio book formats!

Release Date: June 29, 2017

Expiration Date: June 29, 2020

Pulmonary function evaluations benefit many types of patients. Pulmonary disease may frequently be detected by testing years before the onset of signs or symptoms. The early detection of pulmonary disease can be a strong influence in a patient’s decision to quit smoking, which reduces the risk of both cardiovascular disease and worsening pulmonary disease. Comparing tests helps the physician determine whether a specific therapeutic regimen is beneficial. Shortness of breath is a common complaint among patients, and pulmonary function tests can help differentiate between cardiac and pulmonary causes. Pulmonary function tests that are performed before a planned surgery help reduce the incidence of postoperative pulmonary complications by identifying patients at increased risk. Finally, patients who report that their ability to work is limited by shortness of breath can be objectively evaluated with pulmonary function tests; the results are sometimes used to document disability in insurance claims.

It is not uncommon to see previous pulmonary function tests recorded in the medical records of patients who are admitted to hospitals. A quick review of those test results may be instrumental in making decisions about current treatment. This course describes the traditional lung function tests – spirometry, lung volumes and capacities; as well as special tests to measure peak flow, lung diffusion, and bronchodilator responses – that respiratory therapists should be familiar with, even if they do not work in a pulmonary function laboratory. In addition, a brief discussion of what may cause abnormal test results is included.

Course Objectives

  • Describe the primary indications for pulmonary function tests, and the measurements and standards used to perform them.
  • Differentiate lung volumes and lung capacities.
  • Describe spirometry, the equipment used in spirometry, and spirometry tests and results.
  • Summarize the special procedures used in pulmonary function testing and when they are used.
  • Describe miscellaneous pulmonary mechanics.
  • Draw a normal flow volume loop.
  • Explain how pulmonary function test results are used to identify obstructive and restrictive patterns, and to name the GOLD classifications.


Lisa Conry, MA, RRT, is a registered respiratory therapist with 38 years of experience in the field. For the past 25 years she has been a respiratory care educator. She has a bachelor of general studies degree from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, and a master of arts degree from the Ohio State University. She obtained her registry by attending the Advanced Practitioner Program at the University of Chicago Hospitals and Clinics. She has reviewed numerous publications and authored several modules for an online respiratory care program developed by Jones & Bartlett Learning.


David W. Chang, EdD, RRT, is a professor of cardiorespiratory care at the University of South Alabama and a certified tobacco treatment specialist. He has served on many committees and in many capacities at the American Association for Respiratory Care, the National Board for Respiratory Care, and the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care. Dr. Chang’s special interests are in research and mechanical ventilation. He has published five textbooks and developed an open source website,, for students and practitioners. In his spare time, Dr. Chang conducts an ongoing smoking cessation program at Victory Health Partners, which is a community health clinic for uninsured adults.

  • Courses must be completed on or before the expiration date noted in the course description above.
  • You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion
  • Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that this course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools’ policy not to accept commercial support
  • All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content