Spirometry is the most common of the pulmonary function tests (PFTs), measuring lung function, necessary with diagnosis and controlling chronic obturative pulmonary disease. The disease causes airways obstruction. An obstruction may partially or totally prevent air from getting into your lungs and lead to diseases e.g. asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

The test does no harm, it needs no preparation, takes short time, gives valuable information about lung function, especially the amount and speed of air that can be inhaled and exhaled.

Preparation for the test

Specialists highlight that spirometry tests are quite simple to perform ,but it is not just pipe blowing, it demands some effort while performing and following instructions strictly. It requires in a very moment inhale and exhale the air from the lungs otherwise the results may not be accurate. It is suggested to wear loose clothes, that help breathing. Spirometry test should not be taken after physical activities.

 

Procedure

Before the tests patient should give personal details, age, sex, height, weight. Data is proceed through the computer that is connected with the spirometry machine. For this test, patient sits in front of a machine and be fitted with a mouthpiece. It’s important that the mouthpiece fits snugly so that all the air you breathe goes into the machine. Patient also wears a nose clip to keeps from breathing air out through patient’s nose. The respiratory technologist will explain how to breathe for the test. Generally, the patient is asked to take the deepest breath they can, and then exhale into the sensor as hard as possible, for as long as possible, preferably at least 6 seconds. It is sometimes directly followed by a rapid inhalation (inspiration), in particular when assessing possible upper airway obstruction. Sometimes, the test will be preceded by a period of quiet breathing in and out from the sensor (tidal volume), or the rapid breath in (forced inspiratory part) will come before the forced exhalation.

Who needs the spirometry test?

Spirometry tests should be performed twice a year with smokers over 40 years old, regardless of having symptoms of the disease. It is recommended for those who experience breathing problems, such as shortness of breath, cough, get tired easily, smoking cigarettes of for non-smokers.