Some patients will be required to perform the following tests:
The Mannitol Challenge is designed to determine if you have over sensitive airways. Over sensitivity can be caused by inflammation and is a feature of asthma. When Mannitol is inhaled by people with over sensitive airways their airways will narrow. We will use a simple breathing test to monitor this.
The process of the Mannitol challenge will involve you inhaling a powder form of Mannitol in increasing doses from an inhaler. You will then perform a breathing test one minute after each dose until a change is observed or the test is completed.
You may experience increased coughing, wheeziness and breathlessness during this test, but an inhaler can be given at the end to relieve any symptoms.
Six minute walking test
This test will require you to walk for six minutes up and down a corridor whilst your oxygen saturation levels and heart rate are monitored via a finger probe. During the test you are able to rest if required.
Skin prick allergy test
This test is carried out to see if you are allergic to various airborne allergens (eg grass pollen, animal hair etc). During this test a grid will be drawn on your arm, and the allergen solutions placed within that grid. A lancet will be used to irritate the top layer of skin (the skin will not break). You will then be required to wait for 15 minutes to see if the allergens cause a reaction.
Fitness to fly test
This test is carried out to see if you require oxygen during a plane flight. When flying the air pressure in the aircraft is lower than at ground level. As a result, oxygen levels in your blood will fall, which can make some people feel breathless. This can be a problem for people who already have low blood oxygen levels due to a lung condition, with the extra reduction causing discomfort.
During the Fitness to Fly test you will breathe Nitrogen gas for 20 minutes whilst your oxygen saturation levels are monitored; this will mimic flying at altitude. If your Oxygen saturation level drops below 85% then you will be given increasing amounts of oxygen to determine how much oxygen you will require during your flight.
CPET (exercise bike test)
The CPET test is a measurement of the heart and lungs during exercise and is carried out to assess your exercise capacity. It is used to help investigate breathlessness as well as estimate the risk for patients undergoing surgery.
During the test you will be seated on an exercise bike with ECG electrodes attached to your chest to monitor your heart. You will have a facemask attached to monitor your breathing, a blood pressure cuff placed around your arm and a finger probe to monitor oxygen saturation levels.
After some resting data has been collected you will be required to cycle at a low resistance which will gradually increase as the test goes on until you no longer feel that you can cycle or until you are unable to turn the pedals at a specific rate. Once the test is completed there will be a recovery period to see how long it takes for your heart rate and breathing to return to pre exercise values.
How long will your tests take
Depending on which tests the doctor has requested for you to have it will take between 30-60 minutes for us to complete your testing.