Lung function tests in clinical decision-making

Arch Bronconeumol. 2012 May;48(5):161-9. doi: 10.1016/j.arbres.2011.12.012. Epub 2012 Feb 24.
[Article in English, Spanish]


In this article, we review the utility of the most common lung function tests (spirometry, reversibility test, peak expiratory flow, lung volumes, maximal respiratory pressure, carbon monoxide transference, arterial blood gas, 6-minute walk test and desaturation with exercise and ergospirometry) related to the most frequent pathologies (dyspnea of undetermined origin, chronic cough, asthma, COPD, neuromuscular diseases, interstitial diseases, pulmonary vascular diseases, pre-operative evaluation and disability evaluation). Our analysis has been developed from the perspective of decision-making, clinical interpretation or aspects that the physician should take into account with their use. Consequently, the paper does not deal with aspects of quality, technique or equipment, with the exception of when regarding costs as we believe that this is an important element in the decision-making process. The document is extensively supported by references from the literature.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Pulmonary Medicine / standards
  • Respiratory Function Tests*