Assessing Lung Function

Lung or respiratory function test is one of the main activities in the field of occupational health. Respiratory function test consists of spirometry, lung volume, diffusing capacity and 6-min walk tests. Spirometry is used both as a surveillance tool and to assess fitness-for-work. Workers exposed to chemical hazardous to health and dust in the workplace will need to undergo routine spirometry either annually or as required. Workers working in a specific hazardous environment, e.g., confined space work and commercial diving, will need to undergo spirometry for fitness-to-work assessment. This are just a few examples of the routine use of spirometry in the field of occupational health.

The Master of Public Health students who is taking the module MQB7048 Medical Surveillance and Fitness for Work visited the respiratory function test centres at the Respiratory Medicine Unit, Department of Medicine, Universiti Malaya Medical Centre on the 27 March 2023. En Khalini a technician at the centre brief and the demonstrated the spirometry, lung volume and diffusing capacity test on one of the students.

The module MQB7048 Medical Surveillance and Fitness for Work, MQB7036 Occupational Medicine and MQB7038 Clinical Occupational Medicine are part of the elective modules offered under the Master of Public Health programme. These courses are only available for medical doctors as the Occupational Medicine is an advance programme which needs basic medical knowledge, and the Clinical Occupational Medicine requires an annual practicing certificate or temporary practicing certificate from the Malaysian Medical Council. This is because students for the Clinical Occupational Medicine are required to see and manage patient at the Occupational Health Clinic in UMMC.

Group photo of the students and lecturers with En Khalini (sitting)
Students of the MQB7048 – Medical Surveillance and Fitness-for-Work class listening to a briefing by En Azhar
Lung Function Test – Spirometry, Lung Volume and diffusing capacity.
Lung Function Test – Spirometry, Lung Volume and diffusing capacity.
An example of the results of the Lung Function Test

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