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Diagnostic Tests for Lung Transplant Recipients

Arterial Blood Gases (ABG)

An arterial blood gas measures the amount of oxygen that your blood is able to carry to your body tissues. This is performed by placing a needle into an artery in your wrist. Approximately 3 cc of blood is required. This procedure takes about 5 minutes. Any discomfort at the site where the needle was inserted will go away within a few minutes.

Pulmonary Function Tests (PFT)

Pulmonary Function Tests measure lung volume and the rate of air flow through your lungs. Pulmonary function tests require that your perform a variety of breathing exercises by blowing into a tube. The results of these exercises measure the progress of your lung disease. Please inform the technician before these tests if you are taking bronchodilators or other inhaled medication.

Radiographic Studies (X-rays)

A radiographic study requires the use of x-rays. The most common is the chest x-ray. A chest x-ray (CXR) is a painless, three-minute procedure which takes an internal picture of your chest including the lungs, ribs, heart, and the contours of the great vessels of your chest. A chest x-ray can aid in diagnosing infection, collapsed lung, hyperinflation, or tumors. You will require frequent chest x-rays during your initial evaluation and waiting period, daily chest x-rays once your transplant has occurred, and regular follow-up chest x-rays at almost every clinic visit thereafter.

Computerized Tomography (CT Scan)

A chest CT is a picture taken of horizontal slices of your chest and the computer projection of these pictures. The chest CT provides detailed images of the structure of your chest. These images are compared to your chest x-ray. Chest CT assists with detection of problems of the chest not easily found on chest x-ray. Occasionally, the use of an injected contrast material is required.

Ventilation Perfusion Scan (Lung Scan, V/Q Scan)

A ventilation perfusion scan is a test that compares right and left lung function. You will need to be injected with a small amount of radioactive material and will then be asked to inhale (through a mask) a radioactive gas which is distributed throughout your lungs. The gas is exhaled normally. We expect your left lung to have a little bit less perfusion and less ventilation than the right lung because the left lung is smaller.

Electrocardiogram (EKG)

An EKG is a ten-minute procedure which is performed by placing six electrodes on your chest and one electrode on each of your four limbs. A recording of the electrical activity of your heart is obtained which provides information about the rate and rhythm of your heart beat, how your heart is situated in your chest, and assesses any damage to your heart.

Echocardiogram (ECHO)

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart. It is performed to evaluate the impact of lung disease on the mechanics of your heart. It examines the chambers, valves, aorta, and the wall motion of your heart. This testing can also provide information concerning the pressure in the pulmonary arteries (PA pressure). This information is important in planning the exact approach during the transplant operation.

Radionuclide Ventriculography (RVG)

Radionuclide ventriculography is a test that evaluates the performance of both the right and left ventricles, the two main pumping chambers of your heart. Specifically, it records the volume of blood that your heart pumps in one heart beat, as well as other information about the chambers of your heart. This test requires that you receive an injection of radioactive material. Sequential pictures are then taken of your heart.

Barium Swallow

A barium swallow is a test which involves x-ray pictures of your esophagus and stomach after you have swallowed a small amount of contrast material. This test gives the transplant team information about the function of your stomach and helps to determine if you have difficulties with acid rising out of your stomach into your esophagus, a condition known as reflux. If this is present, you may be prescribed medication prior to your transplant.

Blood Specimens

Blood samples are required for both routine and specialized testing. Specimens are sent for blood chemistries including potassium, sodium, cholesterol, triglycerides, liver function tests and other electrolytes. A complete blood count is obtained to determine whether you have an infection or anemia. Blood levels are obtained for information on whether you have been infected with a variety of diseases, including herpes simplex, HIV, and other viruses.


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