In making a diagnosis of chronic bronchitis, your doctor will begin by conducting a thorough physical examination, recording your medical history and asking about any symptoms you are experiencing.
The following tests may then be conducted to make a definite diagnosis:
- Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT) — This test involves a series of breathing maneuvers that measure the airflow and volume of air in your lungs. This allows your doctor to objectively assess the function of your lungs.
- High Resolution Computed Tomography (HRCT) — This is a special type of CT scan that provides your doctor with high-resolution images of your lungs. Having a HRCT is no different than having a regular CT scan; they both are performed on an open-air table and take only a few minutes.
- Chest X-Ray — Chest X-rays can help confirm a diagnosis of chronic bronchitis and rule out other lung conditions.
- Sputum Examination — Analysis of cells in your sputum can help determine the cause of some lung problems.
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.