Spirometry is a test which can help diagnose various lung conditions, most commonly Asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). It is also used to monitor the severity of cvertain lung conditions and their response to treatment.
A spirometer is a device which measres the amount of air that you can blow out. You breathe in fully, seal your lips around a mouthpiece and blow until your lungs are empty. This routine is repeated approximately 6-8 times. A graph is then created which will show how much air you can force out in 1 second (FEV1) and how much air you can blow out in total (FVC).
Spirometry is classed as a low risk test, however blowing out hard can increase the pressure in your chest, abdomen and eyes. This means it should not be performed if you have had recent eye or abdominal surgery. If you have a chest infection, it should not ideally be done for at least 1 months time.
Preparations for Spirometry
- You should wear loose, unrestrictive clothing
- Avoid uheavy meals during the 2 hours before the test
- Avoid vigorous exercise to 1/2 hour before the test
- Please try not to smoke for 24 hours and avoid alcohol for 4 hours before the test
- If possible do not take any blue or grey inhalers for 6 hours before- i.e. Salbutamol, Terbutaline, Ipatropium
- Do not take Spiriva for 24 hours before the test
- Do no take tablets of Aminophylline or Theophylline for 24 hours before the test
Your appointment may take 30-40 minutes. Please bring any inhalers or medicines that you use to aid your breathing with you to the appointment.
You should see you GP/Nurse if you are experiencing any breathing difficulties- they will be able to decide if Spirometry will be a suitable option for you. You cannot self refer for this test.