Tests and diagnosisBy Mayo Clinic staff
CLICK TO ENLARGE
To determine if you have emphysema, your doctor may recommend a variety of imaging tests, lab tests and lung function tests.
- Chest X-ray. A chest X-ray can help confirm a diagnosis of advanced emphysema and rule out other causes of shortness of breath, but an X-ray alone isn't enough to make an accurate diagnosis.
- Computerized tomography (CT). CT scans combine X-ray images taken from many different directions to create cross-sectional views of internal organs. Your doctor may want you to have a CT scan if you're considering lung surgery.
Blood taken from an artery in your wrist can be tested to determine how well your lungs transfer oxygen into, and remove carbon dioxide from, your bloodstream.
Lung function tests
These noninvasive tests measure how much air your lungs can hold and how well the air flows in and out of your lungs. They can also measure how well your lungs deliver oxygen to your bloodstream. One of the most common tests uses a simple instrument called a spirometer, which you blow into.
- Shapiro SD, et al. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema. In: Mason RJ, et al. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/192068760-2/0/1288/0.html. Accessed Feb. 24, 2011.
- What is COPD? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Copd/Copd_WhatIs.html. Accessed Feb. 24, 2011.
- Anthonisen N. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In: Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed Feb. 24, 2011.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In: Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2011: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..C2009-0-38600-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05610-6&about=true&uniqId=230100505-53. Accessed Feb. 24, 2011.
- Rennard SI. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: Definition, clinical manifestations, diagnosis and staging. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Feb. 24, 2011.
- Rennard SI. Management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Feb. 25, 2011.
- Pulmonary rehabilitation: A team approach to improving quality of life. American College of Chest Physicians. http://www.chestnet.org/accp/patient-guides/pulmonary-rehabilitation-team-approach-improving-quality-life. Accessed Feb. 25, 2011.
- What is oxygen therapy? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/oxt/oxt_all.html. Accessed Feb. 25, 2011.