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Overview of pulmonary function testing in children

Dennis M Rosen, MD
Andrew A Colin, MD
Section Editor
Gregory Redding, MD
Deputy Editor
Elizabeth TePas, MD, MS


Pulmonary function testing (PFT) in children plays an important role in the evaluation of the child with known or suspected respiratory disease. A basic approach to PFT for the primary care provider is presented here. The goal is to encourage pediatricians to obtain PFT to diagnose and monitor the pathophysiologic aspects of their patients' respiratory conditions, thereby improving management.

Conventional tests that are frequently performed in the evaluation of pediatric respiratory conditions include measurements that identify:

Airway obstruction

Restrictive lung, chest wall, and respiratory muscle defects

Diffusion defects (those that impair diffusion of gas through the alveolar-capillary membrane)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 20, 2017.
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