Before being listed for a lung transplant, patients are required to undergo an evaluative process that determines if they are eligible. This evaluation may take a day or two to complete. It consists of a physical examination and various tests, such as X-rays, spirometry (breathing) tests, and blood tests. After testing, patients meet with the Lung Transplant Team, which includes a pulmonologist, transplant pharmacist, financial coordinator, and social worker. These team members discuss with patients various aspects of lung transplant surgery and post-surgical care.
A bronchoscopy is a test during which a physician examines the patient's airways by inserting a camera called a bronchoscope through the patient's nose. This camera transmits an image of the throat, larynx, trachea, and lungs to the physician. The physician is also able to remove tissues for a sample, put in stints, and apply medication. This test examines issues such as a chronic cough, lung disease, tumor, or objects blocking the airway. After a bronchoscopy, a patient's throat may be sore for a few days, but this is normal and will desist without treatment.
Pulmonary Function Testing is an evaluation consisting of many different tests that measure the function of the lungs and diagnose various lung conditions. Tests perform and include X-rays, physicals, arterial blood gas analysis, plethysmography, or spirometry. In a plethysmography, a patient sits in a booth while a physician measures the pressure of the air inside the booth to determine lung volume. During a spirometry, a patient breathes into a mask and a physician measures the output of air. These test the effects of chemicals on lungs, determine the cause of shortness of breath and check the area before lung surgery. This test can also diagnose certain types of lung diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema, find the cause of shortness of breath, measure whether the exposure to chemicals in a work environment affects the lung function, and to check before a patient has surgery.