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Pulmonary function test

Your child is scheduled for a Pulmonary Function test (PFT) at:

Children's – Minneapolis
Special Diagnostics – 1st floor
2525 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404


Test time:

Check-in time:

Please bring a list of your child's medicines, insurance card and your picture ID with you. If you have questions about your insurance coverage for these services, or any special referral requirements, please contact your insurance company directly. They will advise you about your plan's coverage.

What is a PFT?

A PFT is a painless breathing test that can help the doctor determine if your child's lungs are working properly. A PFT can also help the doctor decide if different kinds of medicines are effective.

Can I be with my child during the test?

In most cases the parents do not stay in the room during testing. It has been found that most children can perform the test better when done one-on-one with the technician.

What should we do before the test?

Read and discuss this information with your child. Tell your child the test does not hurt. Explain how the test is done, especially what your child will see, hear, and feel. Answer as many questions as you can.

If your child is taking a bronchodilator (inhaler or nebulizer) try not to use it within 4 hours before the PFT. This is helpful to the test but not necessary. If your child is wheezing, coughing, or in any respiratory distress, go ahead and give the medicine as prescribed.

How is a PFT done?

The pulmonary function technologist will teach your child a few different ways of breathing. During the test, your child will blow into a tube with force, a lot like blowing out birthday candles.

After these tests, a bronchodilator (a medicine that opens the small airways in the lungs) will be given as a nebulized solution. The breathing test will be repeated to check for any changes.

What are the side effects of the medicine?

Side effects of the bronchodilator are rare and short-lived and may include:

  • trembling
  • fast heartbeat


This sheet is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have questions about why your child is being tested or the results, please ask the doctor. If you have questions about the test, please call Pulmonary Diagnostics at 612-813-6966.

Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Patient/Family Education
2525 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Last reviewed 8/2015 ©Copyright

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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