A spirometry test is a test used to screen respiratory health. Doctors often use the test to diagnose and monitor conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The results of spirometry testing reveal how much air patients can forcefully exhale from their lungs after each deep breath, as well as how much air they can forcefully exhale per second. Test results that are below normal often indicate the presences of a respiratory problem or lung disease.
Did you know…
that respiratory diseases affect more than 36 million people in the U.S. alone? Of those, 23 million suffer from asthma and more than 13 million with COPD – both of which can be debilitating and burdensome. Each is a serious condition requiring medical treatment. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Early diagnosis using tests like spirometry is important for improving long-term disease outcomes.
You may be a candidate for spirometry testing if your doctor suspects that you may be suffering from a respiratory disease or chronic lung condition. Usually, spirometry is used when the symptoms of asthma, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, COPD, or chronic bronchitis are present. You may also need periodic spirometry tests to monitor the condition of your breathing if you have already been diagnosed with a respiratory disorder.
Spirometry testing is a painless diagnostic test performed in the comfort of your doctor’s office or urgent care center. During the test, a clip will be placed over your nostrils to force you to breathe by your mouth. At the prompting of your nurse or doctor, you will breathe into a tube that is connected to a spirometer. You may be asked to breathe very deeply multiple times. This test may be repeated several times to ensure accuracy. Medications are sometimes given between tests to determine if they are effective for improving breathing function.
The testing process usually takes 10 to 20 minutes, and the results of your test will be available immediately. Depending on your results, additional testing may be necessary.