1. Chest X-ray
Perhaps one of the most common and usual test to diagnose bronchitis is a chest X-ray. Though the most routine, chest X-ray gives the doctors a convincing and clear idea about the disease and helps them recording the patient’s pulmonary area, the lungs, blood vessels, and the bronchial tubes. To undergo this test, the patient is clad in a hospital gown from the waist up. Then, the patient has to stand in front of a metal plate. After that, the patient has to face the front part of the X-ray machine and again move 90° to expose the sides to the machine so that it can take the images. It is basically a harmless procedure as the patient don’t have to go through any strong level of radiations. Just a beam of light hits the chest for a brief time and a film is created.
2. Pulmonary function test
The other test that is used to diagnose bronchitis is a test known as pulmonary function test. This test is conducted with a device by the name of spirometer that measures the exact volume of air inhaled and exhaled by human lungs. The test is very much useful in inspecting the symptoms of asthma. Here, the patient has to blow breath into a spirometer. Accordingly, it measures the volume of air that the lungs of the patient can hold. It also records time for how quickly the patient can get air out of the lungs.
3. Sputum culture
In medical terminology, sputum refers to a thick fluid produced in the lungs. Subsequently, sputum culture is a test to check and identify the presence of any fungi or bacteria in the sputum when the patient coughs. Further, this test is very much handy in finding out if the patient has pertussis (whooping cough) or some other ailment that could be cured by antibiotics.
4. Peak flow meter test
This is a test that measures and judges the level of bronchial blockage by evaluating the amount of air that the patient lets out. While undergoing this test, the patient is asked to exhale as quickly as feasible. The test can be undergone by the patient either by sitting or standing in the doctor’s chamber. Here, the patient is required to force out breath three consecutive times. The rate of the air flow is measured by a unique device and it is recorded in percentages, known as PEFR (peak expiratory flow rate). Any reading of 80 percent or higher indicates that the lung function is under manageable level.
This is another form of diagnostic tool that helps in identifying bronchitis. In a word, this is also a breathing test where PEFR (peak expiratory flow rate) is measured in terms of the inhaling capacity of the patient. While undergoing the test, the patient is required to inhale as much air as possible, and then exhale it as fast and as forcefully as he/she can for a time span of six seconds. In this test, some additional measuring marks are set like VC and FEV6/FVC. VC suggests the volume and the latter refers to the highest level of air flow within the given time span. This test is usually helpful in assessing the intensity of the pulmonary diseases that might be the factor behind the blockage of the lungs.
6. Blood test
To determine if a patient is plagued with bronchitis or not, blood tests are also conducted. The blood test reveals the level of white blood cell count and whether it is raised. It further helps in evaluating the amount of elevated C-reactive protein. With this information, the doctors can assess if there is any major inflammation.
This is a test that doesn’t require any instruments or tools. Here, the doctor taps the chest of the patient with toe fingers. By doing so, he locates the parts of the chest that are blocked. The sound the tap creates is very much instrumental for this simple diagnosis.
8. Exercise testing
This is a test where the patient is asked to walk on either a normal platform or on a treadmill. While doing so, the doctor examines the patient’s heart rate and breathing rate.
9. Arterial blood gas (ABG) test
This test comes as the last tool to determine the presence of bronchitis in a patient. As mentioned earlier, ABG is an invasive process. The highlight of this test lies in the fact that it throws light on the respiratory issues. It, further, weighs the impact of the treatment that follows a bronchitis diagnosis.