Malpractice, Patient Safety, Respiratory Compromise

New Survey Finds Lung Function Testing Has Decreased During COVID-19

By Michael Wong, JD (Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other respiratory illnesses are more at risk of getting COVID-19.  Lung function tests, such as spirometry and plethysmography, are often used to determine how well the lungs are working. These tests measure lung volume, capacity, rates of flow, and gas exchange. Information from these tests is helpful to clinicians to diagnose and determine the appropriate treatment for patients suffering from lung disorders.

However, to take a spirometry test, for example, the patient sits and breathes into a small machine. The spirometer records the amount of air the patient breathes in and out and the speed of the patient’s breath. Because of the possibility of patients spreading COVID-19 when undergoing such tests, we wanted to know how often lung function testing is being conducted during the COVID pandemic. Delays in or rescheduling of such tests could result in delays in diagnosis and treatment, which may have patient health and safety implications.

To read our report on the survey, please click on the box below:

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