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Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust
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Lung function at Royal Brompton

The lung function unit offers a large number of respiratory tests for inpatients, outpatients, direct referrals from GPs and other hospitals. For most patients these tests will take about one hour to complete.

Information for doctors

The department provides a comprehensive range of investigations in order to:

  • Aid diagnosis
  • Provide an objective assessment of how a disease/condition affects the patient functionally
  • Display and define the contribution of any secondary condition
  • Monitor improvement with treatment or in deterioration with time
  • Help differentiate dyspnoea due to heart disease from that originating in the lungs
  • Provide information with the assessment of claims in industrial disabilities and in legal proceedings


We are able to perform a large number of respiratory and oesophageal tests. We test in-patients, out-patients, direct referrals from GPs and from other hospitals (NHS and private patients). In our department, we carry out about 14000 tests per annum. About 8000 of these are routine lung function tests and include transfer factor tests, lung volumes and airways resistance measurements using the body plethysmograph and flow volume loops.


All routine tests are performed using bacterial/viral filters, which prevent any risk of cross-contamination. We also perform many other special tests, including: Exercise tests, Blood gases using the ear-lobe sampling technique, Provocation tests, Hyperventilation tests, Lung Compliance, Fitness to fly studies, Fitness to dive studies, Anatomical shunts, Alveolar dead space tests, Pulmonary blood flow measurements, Bronchodilator studies, Sleep studies (screen and full polysomnographic), Oesophageal pH tests (ambulatory) and Oesophageal motility testing. The lung function test results and a report, if required, will usually be available almost immediately after the tests have been completed. These results can be given to the patient or can be sent on, if preferred.


Any patient that is referred to our department will need to have an appointment booked and prior to the scheduled appointment date, we will need a referral letter or a duly completed request form informing us of the patient's clinical history, the tests required and any other relevant information (infectious status etc.)

Royal Brompton

Sydney Street,
London SW3 6NP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7352 8121


Lung function unit

Fulham Wing / South Block

Tel: +44 (0)20 7351 8910

Fax: +44 (0)20 7351 8080