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Lung diseases

Labor breathing

12/02/2009

Question:

My wife has had very labor breathing for a few years and now her lung doctor has order a sniff test, If and when she is evaluated what can I expect from the results? Could anything be done to help her? thanks

Answer:

A sniff test is a fairly simple test to determine if one of the diaphragm muscles are paralyzed. It is usually done by having a person stand in front of a fluoroscope (x-ray machine) and sniff in rapidly while the physician watches the movement of the diaphragms. Normally, both diaphragms should go down when a person sniffs in rapidly. If one of the diaphragms goes up, then it is likely paralyzed. Usually, if one diaphragm is paralyzed, there is nothing to be done to treat it because most people can function quite well with one paralyzed diaphragm. If both diaphragms are paralyzed, then sometimes additional treatments are required.

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Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University