What is a pulmonary function test with DLCO?
Spirometry is the most common and widely used lung function test, followed by diffusing capacity of the lungs for carbon monoxide (DLCO). It is also known as the transfer factor.  DLCO is a measurement to assess the lungs’ ability to transfer gas from inspired air to the bloodstream.
How is a full pulmonary function test performed?
You will be asked to empty your lungs by gently breathing out as much air as you can. Then you will breathe in a quick (but deep breath), hold your breath for 10 seconds, and then breathe out as instructed. You will do the test several times. It usually takes about 30 minutes to complete this test.
How DLCO test is done?
In most cases, a lung diffusion test involves the following steps:
- A mouthpiece will be placed around your mouth. It will fit snugly.
- You’ll take a breath of air.
- You’ll hold this air for a count of 10 or so.
- You’ll quickly exhale the air you’re holding in your lungs.
- This air will be collected and analyzed.
What causes low DLCO?
A low DlCO with normal spirometry suggests the presence of pulmonary vascular disease, early interstitial lung disease, emphysema associated with a restrictive lung process, anemia (reduced hemoglobin), or elevated carboxyhemoglobin level.
What’s normal about DLCO?
A DLCO result that is at least 80% of the predicted value is considered to be within normal limits. The lower limit of normal is based on a statistical analysis of the study population.
What should I expect from a pulmonary function test?
For this part of a pulmonary function test, you will be asked to breathe in certain gases such as oxygen, helium, or carbon dioxide. You may also breathe in a “tracer gas” for one breath. The machine can detect when you breathe out this gas. This tests how well your lungs are able to transfer oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from your bloodstream.
What is normal DLCO percentage?
The apparent decline in DLCO with age (which is based solely on the equations and not on any longitudinal studies and is independent of height) ranges from 0.117 to 0.246 ml/min/mmHg per year for Caucasian males and 0.068 to 0.179 ml/min/mmHg per year for Caucasian females.