If you are experiencing symptoms related to your breathing, such as coughing, wheezing, deep breathing, shortness of breath, or chest pain, your GP (General Practitioners) may refer you to a hospital for respiratory health tests. Respiratory health tests are designed to help diagnose and treat conditions related to the lungs and breathing.
There are many different conditions that can affect the respiratory system, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer. Respiratory health tests may include tests to show how well the lung functions, and other tests that look at the appearance or structure of the lung. Combining these tests can help your doctor make a diagnosis and assess the impact of your treatment.
Lung function tests include spirometry, which measures how much air you can breathe in and out and how quickly you can exhale. The appearance or structure of the lung can be examined using non-invasive imaging tests such as Chest X-rays, CT scan and MRI scans. The internal appearance can also be checked using bronchoscopy, which uses a thin tube with a camera, inserted through the nose or the mouth, to look inside the lungs.
The goal of respiratory health testing is to help diagnose the underlying cause of your symptoms and develop a personalised treatment plan. Treatment may include medication, such as inhalers or oral steroids, or lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or avoiding certain triggers.
It is important to take any respiratory symptoms seriously, particularly if coughing up blood, and to seek medical attention if you are experiencing any difficulties with your breathing. With the right care and support, it is possible to manage and treat many respiratory conditions and improve your overall quality of life.
The Blackrock Health respiratory health team offers access to a unique level of expertise across our three hospitals. We understand that concerns about respiratory health can be worrying, which is why we offer fast access to expert advice. Our hospitals enjoy an established reputation for responsive, tailored healthcare for respiratory conditions. Our specialist respiratory health teams offer the best possible investigative and treatment options. We can provide the latest diagnostic technologies to help you get the most accurate and effective care possible, as fast as possible. Whether you need a routine check-up or more specialised care, our team is here to help you achieve optimal respiratory health.
If you are experiencing any breathing difficulties, a visit to one of our Respiratory consultants is advisable. They can diagnose and treat both pre-existing and long-standing lung conditions as well as investigate other causes of breathlessness.
Common conditions include asthma, emphysema, sarcoidosis, sleep apnoea or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These conditions are diagnosed through many different tests which show the effectiveness and efficiency of a patient’s breathing.
Our respiratory departments also run sleep study clinics which aim to help patients who suffer from conditions such as sleep apnoea, restless leg syndrome, insomnia, or narcolepsy.
Here is some information about the tests and procedures that are available. If you have any questions about these procedures, please do not hesitate to ask your consultant or your respiratory physiologist.
Respiratory Diagnostic Tests
Lung function tests are breathing tests to check how well your lungs are working. The tests are done for many conditions and help to:
Diagnose a condition
Measure your response to treatment
Monitor your progress
Respiratory tests available at our clinic:
Spirometry (FEV1, FVC) with flow volume loop
Reversibility testing / response to bronchodilators
Transfer test / diffusing capacity (DLCO)
Muscle pressure assessment
Bronchial challenge test
Mannitol challenge test
Methacholine challenge test
Cardiopulmonary exercise test
Pulmonary function test
Cardiopulmonary stress test
Our respiratory team includes:
Clinical nurse specialists
Respiratory diseases include:
Related cardiac tests
Sometimes problems with breathing are caused by underlying heart conditions, rather than directly because of a problem in your lungs. Occasionally both heart and lung problems co-exist and it can be difficult to identify the exact cause of your symptoms. Your doctors may request cardiac tests in addition to respiratory tests to identify the specific causes, and design the most appropriate treatment. You can learn more about these tests here.
An allergy is a reaction the body has to a type of substance.
The goal of allergy testing is to source the causes of an allergic reaction. There are multiple ways to test for allergies, such as:
- Skin prick test - extracts of a food type are placed on your arm, and your skin is pierced, allowing droplets to come in contact with cells. Itching and redness means a positive reaction.
- Blood test - measures the allergic antibodies in the blood.
- Food elimination diet - Food that is thought to have caused the reaction is removed from the diet for 2-6 weeks, and then reintroduced. If the symptoms reduce and then return, this is more than likely a reaction.
Common allergies include:
- Pollen (Hay fever)
- Food allergies (Nuts, eggs, shellfish)
- Certain medicines.
How do I get this?
You will need a referral letter from your GP or consultant before you make an appointment.
Is this insured?
Not all services are covered by health insurance. To find out if you're covered, please check your health insurance before your visit. You can do this on our health insurance cover check page, or by contacting your health insurer.
How do I pay?
If you do not have health insurance or your health plan does not cover the full cost, you will need to pay the balance due before your treatment or procedure. You may be able to claim back some fees on your insurance. To pay an excess not covered by your insurance or any other inpatient fees, please visit our payment page. If you have any queries about paying for your care, please contact the finance team in your hospital.