Ordering Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs)


  • Go through Central Scheduling by calling 865.305.8080

  • Patients must not have coffee, tea, soft drinks (anything with caffeine) or bronchodilator medications for 6 hours prior to scheduled exam. Patients who are on long acting bronchodilators (such as Serevent or Advair), with dosing times of twice a day or every 12 hours, should consult with their physician about a longer waiting period from the last bronchodilator treatment so as to avoid possible false negative results. If the physician determines a longer period is advisable, that will need to be included on the instruction sheet so the patient will know how long to go without bronchodilator prior to the PFT.
  • Patients MUST check in through Outpatient Admitting and be processed. They cannot come directly to PFT Lab without having proper paperwork.
  • Patients must have a proper order by physician. This includes a clear order of exam(s) requested, diagnosis, and proper signature. Diagnosis must be related to need for PFT; diagnosis such as Coronary Artery Disease is not sufficient. Signature must be of someone licensed to order, or to take and transcribe verbal/phone orders (as defined in Medical Staff Bylaws). Signature must at least include first initial, last name, and title. Faxed orders or orders with signature stamps are acceptable. All signatures must be legible.


  • Enter order, as written by physician, using the Powerchart system of the Cerner product. The only correct order for non-respiratory personnel to use is "Pulm Function Test - NURSING ONLY", which is found in the Respiratory Care orders catalog. This will send notices both to the respiratory department and the PFT area.
  • If there is any known information that makes the PFT more urgent, include that information in the Powerchart notification. Such information might be that the patient is for surgery in the AM, is awaiting results for discharge, etc.
  • The PFT staff will work the patient's exam into the schedule as soon as possible, taking into consideration what is already scheduled and any variances that the patient's own schedule might cause, such as being in another area for another exam, etc.