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Border Physicians Group Albury Wodonga Specialist Medical Care
Border Physicians Group Albury Wodonga - Specialist Renal Cardio Obstetric Physicians

Fact Sheets

Border Physicians Group offers a wide range of specialist services. We understand it is often an anxious time to be referred for a test or procedure you know little about.

We suggest you refer to the information we have provided to continue to enhance and find out more about your illness or prescribed procedure, which we are certain will satisfy questions you may have.

Respiratory Testing

Lung Volumes

Body plethysmography is a very sensitive lung measurement used to detect lung pathology that might be missed with conventional pulmonary function tests. Some gas remains in the lungs even after you blow out as much as possible. This is known as the residual volume and can be high due to air trapping. Air trapping can be symptom of some lung diseases. The test is conducted with the subject seated in an airtight chamber, referred to as a body box. The Respiratory Scientist is able to communicate with the patient through an intercom and instructs then on how to breathe during the test. The box has high visibility, so the patient and the scientist are able to see each other during the test. As spirometry and gas transfer tests are usually conducted with the lung volumes test, 45 minutes is set aside for this appointment.

Gas Transfer

One of the primary functions of the lungs is to get oxygen into the bloodstream and the carbon dioxide out. For this to occur, gas must cross a very thin membrane which separates the blood flowing through the lungs from the air breathed into the lungs. Assessment of the lungs ability to do this is tested through Gas Transfer tests. Spirometry tests are almost always conducted prior to the Gas Transfer test.

The test involves taking a deep breath in, holding the breath for approximately 10 seconds then breathing the air out. This test may be recommended for diagnosis or routine management of patients with lung conditions such as emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis. This test (with spirometry prior) normally takes approximately 30 minutes.


This test measures how much and how quickly air can be moved in and out of the lungs. It also measures the reversibility of airway disease by testing the bronchial response and hyperactivity of the airways. The test involves breathing into a device called a spirometer. This is usually performed while seated and takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete. The patient is instructed to take a breath in as big as they can, then breath it out as hard and as fast as they can. The patient must try to blow out for at least six seconds if possible and try to give their best effort. This needs to be performed at least three times. Patient are then given a bronchial reliever, wait five minutes, then repeat the test. This allows the physician to assess if there is any airway reversibility. Prior to spirometry your doctor may ask you to withhold certain medications.


Bronchial Provocation

Bronchial Provocation Tests are useful in the diagnosis of asthma where spirometry is normal. They are also useful to assess the airways for evidence of active asthma for employment screening such as the defence or police forces. Asthma is a condition where the airway are very sensitive and narrowing can occur when exposed to certain triggers, e.g. grasses, exercise, pollens. The bronchial Provocation Test mimics the process which occurs then you are exposed to the triggers. This is done by inhaling incremental amounts of powder called Mannitol. This test takes approximately 45 minutes.

The patients are required to breathe in the substance through and inhaler. After each dose the patient is required to perform spirometry. Lung function will be assessed after each of the doses to determine if any changes have occurred. Prior to the tests you will be given information on medications which may need to be withheld and avoidance of certain food and drinks, exercise and smoking.

Unfortunately, due to the cost of the medication to provide this service a fee is payable.

Full Cost: $149.75
Medicare Rebate: $119.75
Gap: $30.00

6 Minute Walk Test

Preparing for your test:

  • Wear clothes and shoes that are comfortable for exercise.
  • You may use your usual walking aids such as a wheelie walker, if needed.
  • It is ok to eat a light meal prior to your test.
  • Take your usual medications.
  • Do not exercise within 2 hours of testing.

During the test:

  • The tester will measure your blood pressure, pulse, and oxygen level before your start to walk.
  • You will be given the following instructions: The object of the test is to walk as far as possible for six minutes. You will walk your normal pace to a chair or cone, and turn around. And you continue to walk back and forth for six minutes.
  • Let the staff know if you are having chest pain or breathing difficulty.
  • It is acceptable to slow down, rest or stop. After every minute interval, you will be given an update.



Wrist Oximetry

Wrist oximeters are clip-on devices that measure oxygen saturation. The device may be attached to a finger and wrist.

Oxygen saturation can drop for many reasons, including:

  • suffocation
  • choking
  • infections, such as pneumonia
  • drowning
  • diseases, such as emphysema, lung cancer, and lung infections
  • inhaling poisonous chemicals
  • heart failure or a history of heart attacks
  • allergic reactions
  • general anaesthesia
  • sleep apnoea

Pulse oximeters work by shining a light through a relatively transparent area of the skin. The light shines through to a detector positioned on the other side of the skin.

For example, when a pulse oximeter is clipped onto a finger, one side of the clip shines the light, and the other detects it.

The amount of light absorbed by the blood indicates the oxygen saturation. A pulse oximeter does not directly measure oxygen saturation but instead uses a complex equation and other data to estimate the exact level.