Because symptoms of flint disease are similar to those of other common ailments (such as asthma, COPD, and heart disease), your doctor may run one or more of several different tests to definitively diagnose flint disease.
Chest x-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans are typical starting points. These non-invasive procedures allow doctors to look for patterns associated with flint disease. You may also participate in a pulmonary function test (PFT), in which you breathe into a machine to measure the amount of air you are able to inhale and exhale, or an exercise test, in which your blood pressure and blood oxygen levels are measured on a treadmill or stationary bike. If a specific diagnosis is unavailable from the above non-invasive procedures, your doctor may also conduct two invasive procedures to remove bits of lung tissue for lab analysis: bronchoscopy (passing a fiber-optic tube down your throat into your lungs and to remove tissue) or video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (inserting a camera-equipped tube through an incision in your ribs to view lungs and removed tissue). Finally, your doctor may perform bronchoalveolar lavage, in which they wash your lungs with a saline solution and then examine lung cells caught in the liquid.