In order to collect data for our research studies, there are some common procedures that our research participants take part in.
Pulmonary Function Tests (PFT)
PFT is a standard test used by doctors to test breathing and is used to help understand how the lungs are functioning to move air in and out of the body. This test is completed using a spirometer, a device that measures breathing. The test is done by breathing through a mouthpiece, first taking a few normal breaths through, then a deep breath in followed by breathing out as fast and hard as possible. The test is repeated several times and takes about 10 minutes. Some tests also involve another step called bronchodilation. For this step, after completing the first set of breaths, a medicine is given (albuterol) that relaxes the airways. After waiting 15 minutes, the pulmonary function test is then repeated to see what effect the medication had. This may be repeated several times until the maximum effect is seen.
Nitric Oxide Measurement (FeNO)
Nitric oxide (NO) is a gas that is produced by the lungs in response to certain kinds of inflammation. This gas can be measured by breathing a long steady breath directly into a testing machine’s mouthpiece. This may need to be repeated a few times to get a good measurement. This test typically takes about 10 minutes in total.
Sputum induction is a technique to obtain fluid and cells from the airways to better understand inflammation in asthma. This is done by using a nebulizer to inhale a 3% saline solution (salt water, also called hypertonic saline) and coughing any secretions into a cup. To prevent wheezing, albuterol (an medication that relaxes the airway) is given prior to starting.
A nasal brush is a small, wiry Q-tip that is used to collect cells from inside the nose. The brush is placed in the nose and both nostrils are brushed for about 10 seconds each.