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About Papworth Hospital

Respiratory Physiology

The Respiratory Physiology department is located in Thoracic Outpatients and offers a wide range of routine and advanced breathing tests.  Our tests provide valuable data for the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of the plethora of respiratory and cardiovascular conditions treated at the hospital.  We have a dedicated team of physiologists who support the work of consultants across the hospital including referrals from the thoracic, surgical, transplant and research services.  As a regional centre, we also provide an outpatient service for advanced test referrals from other hospitals in the area. 

The department is one of the largest in the country and is fortunate to have an excellent range of modern equipment and testing facilities within the laboratory.  Patients can expect to receive high-quality tests in a supportive, professional environment.  As part of a well-established teaching hospital, the department also provides technical training and support to students in the early stages of their careers in respiratory physiology.  These students may perform tests with patients as part of their training, but will always be supported by more senior members of staff.

The department is open Monday to Friday between 8:00am-5:00pm and is situated in Thoracic Outpatients in the Bernhard Baron Building near the main hospital entrance. 

image: Patient on exercise cycleThe clinical tests offered by the team can be divided into 3 main groups, including routine breathing tests, field exercise tests and advanced tests:


Dynamic lung volumes (Spirometry)
Gas transfer (Single-Breath TLCO)
Static lung volumes (Body Plethysmography/ Helium dilution)
Reversibility studies
Pulse oximetry

Field Exercise

6-minute walk
Incremental shuttle walk


Respiratory muscle assessment (erect & supine spirometry, maximum inspiratory & expiratory pressures, sniff nasal inspiratory pressures)
Bronchial challenge (Mannitol/Histamine)
Flight assessment
Skin prick allergy test
Sweat test
Oesophageal manometry, 24hr pH studies & 24hr impedence pH studies
Cardio-pulmonary exercise test
Capillary blood gas measurement
Airway resistance measurement
Nasal/exhaled Nitric Oxide study
Impulse Oscillometry

Further services offered by the department include spirometry training (for patients needing to perform spirometry at home), and internal training sessions for medical students and junior doctors. We also run an outpatient nebuliser service, where patients can contact us with any equipment queries, report any faults and order new accessories e.g. filter pads.

Tests are performed by our team of clinical physiologists, and the results will then be assessed by the referring consultant.  The consultant will then either discuss the results with patients in clinic or send the report to the patient’s GP.

For more information on the services we provide, or the tests that we perform, please do not hesitate to contact us.

For bookings and appointments, please contact the administration team in the Respiratory Physiology office on who will be happy to assist you. Working hours for the administration team are Monday-Friday between 9:00am-2:45pm; outside of these hours please contact the laboratory. The administration team can be contacted on:

01480 364207

 For test information, nebuliser queries or any other information please contact the Respiratory Physiology laboratory on:

01480 364815


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