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Respiratory Therapy – Pulmonary Functioning Clinic

What is it?

The Regional Respiratory Therapy Services’ Pulmonary Functioning Clinic provides different respiratory diagnostic tests and therapies for people in Eeyou Istchee. A diagnostic test determines if someone who experiences trouble breathing has a respiratory disorder. 

Who is it for?

Respiratory diagnostic testing is for people who experience difficulty breathing and have, or may have, a respiratory disease such as pulmonary fibrosis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchiectasis, etc.  

Respiratory diagnostic testing is used to diagnose and keep track of respiratory diseases, to provide prognoses, and to predict how you will respond to treatment.  

Where is it offered?

Different tests are available at different locations. 

Spirometry Tests and 6 Minute Walk Tests are offered in all community CMC clinics. 

Complete pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are offered at the Old Arena in Chisasibi, and at CMC clinics in Waskaganish and Mistissini.  

What is it like?

Respiratory diagnostic tests include  

  • the 6 Minute Walk Test (6MWT),  
  • complete pulmonary function tests (PFT), and  
  • spirometry tests. 

  The 6MWT and PFT are for people 18 years and over; spirometry tests are for those aged 6 years and over. 

Once you have an appointment, the respiratory therapist will provide you with instructions to follow before and on the day of the test. These could include how to dress, what not to drink/eat, and which medications to stop taking.  

The 6MWT is performed if you need continuous oxygen therapy. For this test, you will walk as much as you can for six minutes while the therapist monitors your blood pressure, pulse and saturation. 

Spirometry tests involve breathing in and out of a mouthpiece as strongly as possible to measure how much air you inhale and exhale, and how quickly you breathe.  

PFT tests work much the same as spirometry tests, but provide fuller measurements of how well your lungs are working. For PFT or spirometry tests, on the day of the test the respiratory therapist will coach you on breathing, and then have you breathe as strongly as possible into and out of a mouthpiece.  

How long does it last?

A respiratory test can last approximately one hour, and sometimes a little more.  

Spirometry test reports are available upon completion of the test and they are given to the CMC physician, along with a practical guide for interpreting the test results.  

Complete PFT and 6MWT test results are sent to a Val d’Or respirologist for interpretation, and are then returned to the referring physician at the CMC. 

How can I get this service?

You must be referred to these tests by a physician, usually following the report of symptoms, or based on other medical test results. Talk to your doctor or nurse if you have any concerns about your breathing and/or medications. 

Where can I learn more?

You can learn more about lung issues and different diagnostic testing by contacting the CMC clinic nurse or by visiting the Canadian Lung Association:

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