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.

Current as of: August 21, 2015

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Mark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine