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Spirometry Testing

What does Spirometry Testing do?
Spirometry is the most common type of pulmonary function or breathing test. This test measures how much air you can breathe in and out of your lungs, as well as how easily and fast you can the blow the air out of your lungs.
Why Will Your Physician Do This Test?
Your Physician may order spirometry if you have wheezing, shortness of breath, or a cough. This can help diagnose problems like asthma and COPD, or can be done to check lung function before a surgery. You may also have spirometry done if you are being treated for a chronic lung disease, such as COPD, asthma, or pulmonary fibrosis, to determine if your disease is improving or worsening and whether your medications or inhalers are working properly.
Spirometry will give your doctor information about why you may have a cough, shortness of breath, or noisy breathing and help diagnose certain lung problems. After the test, you can return to your normal daily activities.

Normal values are calculated based on age, height and gender. If a value is abnormal, a lung problem may be present. Sometimes a patient with normal lungs may have a breathing test value that is abnormal. Your doctor will explain what your test results mean. Depending on the results of the test, your doctor may prescribe inhalers or medicines to help improve your lung function. The testing may be repeated at future visits to monitor your lung function.

How It Works
During the test, you will be sitting upright. A clip is placed on your nose and you will be given a plastic mouthpiece connected to the spirometry machine. You will place your lips tightly around the mouthpiece and be asked to take in as big and deep a breath as possible and then blow out as hard and fast as you can. This maximal effort is very important, and testing will be repeated at least three times to get the best results.

The technician may give you a medicine to help open your airways and then repeat the test to see if your breathing improves with the medicine. The testing takes about 30 to 45 minutes.

Learn More
Through routine spirometry, lung diseases can often be diagnosed in the early stages when treatment is most effective. Once a lung disease is diagnosed and treated, routine spirometry tests can monitor changes in lung functions with specific treatment. This will help your Physician find the best treatment plan for you. You can learn more at