Dr Mark Kennedy - Private Internal Medicine Specialist
Spirometry is a test which measures the volume of air with which your lungs can be filled and the rate that you can empty your lungs. It can be used to diagnose problems of breathing and airflow limitation and to monitor the usefulness of treatment.
In order to do spirometry, you take a deep breath in and then blow out as hard as you can into a hollow tube attached to a spirometer machine for 6 or more seconds. You will be asked to do the test at least 3 times to ensure reliability of the test and to capture your best result.
Spirometry measures the volume of air expelled from the lungs in the first second and the total amount exhaled by the person doing the test. It also gives a measure of flow through small airways (or bronchioles). Restriction and obstruction are different patterns that spirometry can detect, as well as showing the severity of the abnormalities.
I perform this type of test routinely in my office on people who are breathless or where asthma, emphysema or COPD are suspected.
Your results are compared with a normal non-smoker of your age, height and gender.
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This page was last updated at 1:55PM on December 13, 2018.