Evaluating pulmonary impairment: appropriate use of pulmonary function and exercise tests

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Pulmonary impairment in patients with occupational lung diseases can frequently be detected and quantified simply by measuring spirometric values (forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 second), or single breath-diffusing capacity. When the results of such pulmonary function tests are equivocal or inconsistent with clinical symptoms, cardiopulmonary exercise testing provides helpful ancillary information. Published guidelines are available to assist in grading the severity of respiratory impairment based on pulmonary function and exercise testing.



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