What is it?

Spirometry is a breathing test used to check how well your lungs are working. The test measures how much air you can move in and out of your lungs, and how fast you can blow air out of your lungs. If you have signs and symptoms of lung disease, your doctor may order spirometry to help diagnose the condition. It is particularly useful to diagnose asthma. Your doctor may use spirometry to check if your lung disease is getting better or worse over time, and whether your medications are helping to control your breathing problems.

How Can Spirometry Benefit Me?

On the day of the test, you will sit or stand upright, take a deep breath and blow hard and fast into a plastic mouthpiece connected to a machine called a spirometer. Since you will be blowing hard and fast, you may develop dizziness, lightheadedness, or cough. You should let the technician know if you notice any discomfort. The test will be repeated at least three times to make sure the results are consistent. The machine will calculate and graph your results, including measurements known as Forced Expiratory Volume (FEV1) and Forced Vital Capacity (FVC).
After the test, you may be given a medication to open your lungs (bronchodilator) and a repeat test will be performed to find out if the medication improved your breathing measurements. Your doctor will explain what your results mean after interpreting them.


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