Heart and lung function tests

Woman with heartburn

Lung function tests

These breathing tests can see how well your lungs are working – before and sometimes after treatment. The two main types of test are:

  • Pulmonary function tests (PFTs): PFTs are breathing tests to check how well your lungs work. You blow into a mouthpiece on a machine. PFTs are not painful and take about 20 minutes.
  • Cardiopulmonary exercise stress test or CPET: CPET measures your heart rate and breathing during exercise. You will be asked to do some exercise – such as riding an exercise bike – while breathing through a mouthpiece. You don’t have to be fit to do the test. It lasts for about 40 m

Heart tests

These tests can see how well your heart is working. They may be used to check your general health or to see if treatment has affected your heart. For example, some chemotherapy drugs can affect the muscles of the heart (this is usually temporary).  
The two main types of test are:

  • ECG: Sensors are attached to your skin that can pick up the signals produced by your heart when it beats.
  • Echocardiogram (‘echo’ scan): This is a type of ultrasound that can produce a moving image of your heart at work, and nearby blood vessels, and give information about your heart function.

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