Mercy Regional Health Center
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Resources

To read about some of our common tests, click the links below.

Arterial Blood Gas
Electroencephalogram (EEG)
Methacholine Challenge
Oxygen Saturation
Pulmonary Function Test


Arterial Blood Gas
An arterial blood gas (ABG) study is a blood test that measures the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide gases in your blood. This test may help your doctor pinpoint what is causing your condition, including symptoms such as shortness of breath and chest pain.

Instead of being drawn from a vein, blood is taken from an artery in your wrist or in the upper forearm area to get blood with the necessary oxygen levels.

If you use oxygen, you may be required to remove it prior to the study.

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Electroencephalogram (EEG)
An electroencephalogram (EEG) monitors and records your brain's electrical activity, helping your physician identify any problems in your brain's activity.

Electrodes will be placed on your scalp using a thick, conductive paste. Once the set-up is complete, you will sit in a recliner. The lights will be turned off, and the monitoring will begin. During the test, you are to remain still and silent. You will be instructed to start hyperventilating. After a few minutes, the test will continue with basic monitoring. At one point, a strobe light will flashed in your face. Your eyes will be closed, so they should not be bothered.

Once testing is complete, the technician will turn on the lights and begin cleaning your hair. Following the test, you can wash your hair with hot water and your regular shampoo to remove any paste left in your hair.

The report will be sent to a neurologist to be read, and the results will be reported to your physician.

Preparation
Please follow these directions prior to your electroencephalogram:

  • If a sleep-deprived EEG has been ordered, you will need to cut your sleep in half the night prior to the study. So if you normally sleep for 8 hours a night, you will now need to sleep only 4 hours.
  • Do not eat or drink anything that may contain caffeine, including coffee, tea, chocolate and soda.
  • Refrain from smoking for at least 4 hours.
  • Please shampoo and dry your hair. Do not use conditioner, hair spray, hair mousse or gels.
  • Wash your face with plain soap. Do not apply lotion, moisturizers or makeup. Skin must be clean and dry so that electrodes can stick.
  • Take your medications as directed by your physician.

If the patient having the study is younger than five years old, please contact us for specific instructions.

Ambulatory EEG
An ambulatory EEG is an EEG that can be conducted for a longer period of time and at home. Electrodes will be adhered to your head so that you can take the monitor home with you for a 24-hour period. For the most part, you will be asked to perform your daily activities (but no exercise). If you notice any symptoms, you will press a switch on the monitor and document the symptoms in a diary. You will be unable to bathe or shower during this time period. At the end of the 24 hours, you will return to the hospital to have the monitor removed. The results will be reported to your physician.

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Methacholine Challenge
A methacholine challenge is a test to determine whether your symptoms are due to hypersensitivity of the airways in your lungs, which can help your physician in diagnosing and treating your condition.

During this test, you will be breathing medication that is designed to irritate the bronchial tubes. The test may cause increased coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. You will be given a breathing treatment at the end of the test that will eliminate these symptoms.

The test requires you to breathe into an instrument called a spirometer that records the volume and flow rate of air that is breathed in over a specified time. You may be asked to breathe normally at times, and to inhale and exhale deeply at other times.

Please do your best to cooperate and to follow the technician's instructions during your breathing efforts.

If you notice symptoms during the test, you should tell the technician. You may feel a little shaky after the bronchodilator treatment, but this feeling will subside in approximately 15 minutes.

Preparation
Please follow these directions prior to your methacholine challenge:

  • For 7 days, don't take Spiriva.
  • For 48 hours, don't take Advair, Serevent, Foradil, Intal, Tilade, Symbicort or Brovana.
  • For 24 hours, don't take Atrovent, Combivent, Singular, Zyflo or Accolate.
  • For 24 hours, don't take oral Volmax, Ventolin, Proventil, Albuterol, Bricanyl or Bethaine.
  • For 6 to 8 hours, don't take inhaled Albuterol, Proventil, Ventolin, Xopenex, Maxair, Alupent, Metaprel, Brethaire, Brethine, Tornalate, ProAir or Primatene Mist.
  • Don't smoke for 2 hours.
  • Don't have caffeine (coffee, tea, soda, chocolate) for 8 hours.
  • Don't exercise the day of your appointment.

You may take the rest of your medication as usual.

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Oxygen Saturation
Oxygen saturation is a simple and non-invasive way for your doctor to determine how much oxygen is in your blood by placing a probe on your finger.

This test can be performed in numerous ways. It can be done while you are sitting in a chair, or while you are walking. There is also a monitor called a nocturnal oximeter that you can take home and place on your finger when you go to bed. With the probe on your finger, you turn the machine on and zip the monitor up in its pouch. In the morning, you turn the monitor off, remove the probe, and return the monitor to the hospital. We will then scan the results and give them to your physician.

If you use oxygen, you may be required to remove it prior to the study.

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Pulmonary Function Test
A pulmonary function test is an exam to measure how well the air flows into and out of the lungs, which can help diagnose certain lung disorders.

During the test, you will breathe into an instrument called a spirometer that records the volume and flow rate of air that is breathed in over a specified time. You may be asked to breathe normally at times, and to inhale and exhale deeply at other times. The test is performed inside of a glass booth called a body box. A body box provides the most accurate way to obtain lung-function measurements. The door of the booth is open for all but two 1-minute sessions.

The accuracy and value of the test is dependent on you. Please do your best to cooperate and follow the technician's instructions during your breathing efforts.

You will be allowed to rest between tests. After the testing is complete, you may feel lightheaded. If a bronchodilator is used, you may feel a little shaky, but this feeling will subside in approximately 15 minutes.

Preparation
Please follow these directions prior to your pulmonary function test.

  • For 12 hours, don't take Advair, Serevent, Foradil, Intal, Tilade, Symbicort or Brovana.
  • For 8 hours, don't take Atrovent or Combivent.
  • For 6 to 8 hours, don't take Albuterol, Proventil, Ventolin, Xopenex, Maxair, Alupent, Metaprel, Brethaire, Brethine, Tornalate, ProAir or Primatene Mist.
  • Don't smoke for 2 hours.
  • Don't have caffeine (coffee, tea, soda, chocolate) for 8 hours.

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