Investigations


A number of possible diagnostic tests are offered in order to investigate respiratory and medical problems. The following list is not exhaustive but are the more common and their uses outlined.


Chest X-Ray

This is a fairly routine test to investigate the cause of respiratory symptoms. It can identify certain conditions


ECG

An electrocardiogram is a test to examine the heart and can be useful if a cardiac cause for breathlessness is suspected or if a history of chest pains.


CT Thorax

A CT is a much more detailed type of X-Ray test sometimes useful if the chest X-Ray reveals abnormalities or if symptoms are not readily explained with other more simple tests. It can be used to investigate recurrent infection/bronchiectasis and fibrosis/interstitial lung diseases and unexplained low oxygen levels.


Pulmonary Function Testing (PFTs)

Detailed breathing tests can often be very useful and suggest a diagnosis or be reassurring if normal. Often used to monitor conditions over time.


Skin Prick Allergy Testing ( for respiratory allergens)

small amounts of allergen are intoduced into the skin of the forearm in the clinic to elicit a small local allergic response. It is read after 20 mins. Along with questioning about timing of symptoms it can inform you of allergies. The results are discussed and advice given.


Exhaled NO

A breathing test used to measure airway inflammation, useful in the management of asthma investigation of non-resolving cough.


Bronchoscopy

An endoscopy of the airways performed usually under sedation in a hospital setting. It is sometimes used to investigate  CT/Xray abnormalities and symptoms such as coughing blood.