Lung Function Test (Spirometry)

Your Health

A Spirometry test looks at how well your lungs work and shows how well you breathe in and out. Breathing in and out can be affected by lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, pulmonary fibrosis and cystic fibrosis. (For more information on COPD, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis and cystic fibrosis see the `My Health - Common Problems' tab.)

How is the test obtained?

Spirometry is the name of the test, whilst a spirometer is the device that is used to make the measurements. The practice nurse will take your weight and height measurements and then ask you to blow into a spirometer. You will blow out into the device as fast and as far as you can until your lungs are completely empty. This may be repeated for accuracy.

I've been asked to have a spirometry, what should I do?

If the doctor or nurse has recommended that you have a spirometry test performed, you will need to request this appointment at reception. You will be booked an extended appointment of 30 minutes with the nurse. If it has been requested it to include reversibility, please let reception know as these are 40 minute appointments.

Prior to appointment you will need to action the following points:

  • Bring any inhalers (if applicable) with you and take your medication as normal
  • To improve the accuracy of the test DO NOT:
    • Smoke for 24 hours prior to the test
    • Drink any alcohol for 4 hours before the test
    • Eat a heavy meal for at least 2 hours prior to the test
    • Do any vigorous exercise for 30 minutes prior to the test
    • Wear tight clothing which would restrict your breathing

Please ensure you:

  • Remove loose fitting dentures
  • Remove chewing gum
  • Ensure your bladder is empty

Please inform the nurse at your appointment if you have had any of the following:

  • Recent chest infection requiring antibiotics or steroids
  • Heart attack in the last 3 months
  • Recent eye or any other surgery
  • Unstable angina or any chest pains
  • Perforated ear drum or longstanding problems with your ears
  • Coughing up blood

If you have any further questions about this procedure, please speak to the nurse - either Kam or Linda about the test