Spirometry: Indications, Risks, Importance, Procedure and Results

It is a common and effective diagnostic test that can be easily performed in your doctor’s office, a hospital or a nearby clinic.

You will be asked to take a deep breath and then blow as much as you can into a machine.

The machine measures how much air you can expel from your lungs and how quickly you can turn it off. Spirometry is the most reliable way to analyze your lungs to detect COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and asthma .

Indications

Your doctor may suggest a spirometry test if you suspect that your signs or symptoms may be caused by a chronic lung condition, such as:

  • Asthma.
  • COPD.
  • Chronic bronchitis.
  • Emphysema .
  • Pulmonary fibrosis.

If you have already been diagnosed with a chronic lung disorder, spirometry can be used periodically to check how well your medications are working and if your breathing problems are under control.

Spirometry can be ordered before a planned surgery to verify if your lung function is adequate for the rigors of an operation. In addition, spirometry can be used to detect work-related lung disorders.

Risks

It is generally a safe test. You may feel short of breath or dizzy for a moment after performing the test.

Because the test requires a little effort, it is not done if you have had a recent heart attack or other heart condition. In rare cases, the test triggers serious respiratory problems.

How do I prepare?

Follow your doctor’s instructions about whether to avoid using inhaled breathing medications or other medications before the test. Other preparations include the following:

  • Wear loose clothing that does not interfere with your ability to breathe deeply.
  • Avoid eating a large meal before the test, so it will be easier to breathe.

Your doctor can call spirometry with another name that includes: pulmonary function test (PFT) or pulmonary function test.

Importance

It can be used to diagnose and treat many different types of lung diseases. If you have questions or concerns about the health of your lungs, talk to your doctor about spirometry.

The earliest spirometry is performed, the anterior lung disease can be detected and treated. There are many treatments to reduce symptoms, prevent lung disease from worsening, reduce outbreaks (exacerbations) and improve your daily life.

Who should undergo the spirometry test?

People with asthma:

It is an important diagnostic and treatment tool for people with asthma. If you have asthma and you never had a spirometry test, talk to your doctor about spirometry.

Smokers and ex-smokers:

If you are over 40 and smoke or smoke, you may have COPD. Perform this quick test to detect the symptoms.

Before the test

  • Do not smoke for an hour before the test.
  • Do not drink alcohol within four hours of the test.
  • Do not eat a large meal within two hours of the test.
  • Do not exercise vigorously within 30 minutes of testing.

If you take medicine for babies, you may be asked not to take them for a few hours before spirometry. Ask your doctor (or the testing center) in advance if this applies to you.

During the test

Spirometry is a painless test that can often be done in your doctor’s office or at a nearby clinic.

The complete test usually takes less than 10 minutes, although it is sometimes repeated after taking a medication for the smoker.

You will be asked to breathe through a mouthpiece while using a nose clip. The tester will train you to take the greatest possible breath.

He will then expel the air as quickly as possible until his lungs are completely empty. Next, you may be asked to take a deep breath again.

He will do this three times or more to make sure the results are accurate. You may also be given a medicine to breathe. The test will be repeated to show if your lungs have responded to the medication.

Results

Spirometry tells your doctor if your lungs are functioning normally. It does this through different breathing measurements, some of the most common measurements include:

Forced vital capacity: the largest amount of air that can expire after taking your best breath.

Forced expiratory volume (FEV1): The amount of air that can be expelled from your lungs in the first second.

If the amount of air you inhale in the first second is low, you may have a lung disease such as asthma or COPD.

If you have already been diagnosed with asthma or COPD, spirometry may be useful in determining if your current treatment is working.

Then show some love to your lungs. Talk to your doctor about spirometry.