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Total Lung Capacity


Total lung capacity (TLC) is the maximum amount of air the lungs can hold when they are fully inflated. This amount can be measured as part of lung function tests.

To measure total lung capacity, a person sits inside a booth called a plethysmograph and breathes through a mouthpiece while pressure and air flow measurements are collected.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerMark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine
Last RevisedApril 25, 2013

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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