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Med Princ Pract. 2005 May-Jun;14(3):182-8.

Utilization of the pulmonary function test laboratory in the evaluation of respiratory disorders in the Al-Amiri Hospital: a secondary medical center.

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Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, Safat, Kuwait.



The aim of this study was to describe the current use of pulmonary function tests (PFT) and the degree of matching between the diagnoses at referral and after the test.


A pre-test questionnaire was administered to 464 (5-88 years) patients referred to the PFT laboratory followed by a complete PFT test. The results of the patients' tests were analyzed in terms of the diagnosis before the test, its relation to symptoms, and the rate of concordance between the diagnoses before and after the test.


The most referrals were from the medical Outpatient Department; 61%) and the most frequent diagnosis before the test was asthma (31.8%). Of the 464 patients, 34% were currently smoking cigarettes, and the most common symptoms were chronic dyspnea (30.2%) and chronic cough (19.6%). The chronicity of symptoms showed some association with the diagnosis before PFT in the case of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) showing the symptom of dyspnea (p = 0.05), and COPD and restrictive lung disease with cough (p < 0.05). The overall rate of concordance in matching diagnoses before and after the test was 60.4% by consultant physicians and 51.9% by non-consultants, with an overall rate of 55% by all physicians.


Our findings show that there should be better utilization of the PFT laboratory by physicians in all sub-specialities and there is a need to facilitate its use to make a better functional diagnosis.

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