Have you ever lost your breath and felt that panic that instantly takes over or experienced that awful feeling of struggling for the next breath? It can happen in an instant, maybe from something you swallowed the wrong way, or perhaps the wind gets knocked out of you while playing a sport. While incidents such as these are not everyday occurrences, the ability for some people to fight for their daily breath is all too common. We breathe thousands of times every day, an activity we barely think about until respiratory problems arise.
Over 3 million Canadians cope with one of five serious respiratory diseases – asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, tuberculosis (TB), and cystic fibrosis. These and other respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, bronchiolitis, respiratory distress syndrome and sleep apnea affect individuals of all ages, cultures and backgrounds – from children to parents to grandparents. Pneumonia remains a major contributor to deaths and hospitalization among the elderly. It is the leading cause of death from infectious disease in Canada.
Public Health Agency of Canada www.publichealth.gc.ca
A priority equipment need at the Dartmouth General Hospital is replacing the Pulmonary Function System (PFTs).
Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are groups of tests that measure how well the lungs take in and release air and how well they move gases such as oxygen from the atmosphere into the body's circulation, In a spirometry test, you breathe into a mouthpiece that is connected to an instrument called a spirometer, which records the amount and the rate of air you breathe in and out over a period of time.
The new Pulmonary Function equipment will enable the clinical staff to conduct more advanced testing, using the latest technology and standards.
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PFTs may be used to: