What is Spirometry?

Spirometry is a common pulmonary function test that measures the amount and speed of air that a person can inhale (breathe in) and exhale (breathe out). This test provides important information about lung function and is often used to assess respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other lung diseases.

How does Spirometry work?

Here’s how a spirometry test typically works:

  1. Preparation: The individual is asked to sit comfortably and wear a nose clip to ensure that air is only breathed in and out through the mouth, sealing off the nose.
  2. Instructions: The healthcare provider or technician will provide clear instructions on how to perform the test. This usually involves taking a deep breath in and then blowing out as forcefully and completely as possible into a handheld device called a spirometer.
  3. Testing Maneuvers:
    • Forced Vital Capacity (FVC): The person takes a deep breath and then exhales as forcefully and completely as possible into the spirometer.
    • Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second (FEV1): This measures the amount of air expelled in the first second of the forced breath.
    • FEV1/FVC Ratio: This ratio helps assess the obstruction of airflow.
  4. Repeat Testing: The process is usually repeated multiple times to ensure accuracy and consistency of results.

The results of spirometry can provide valuable information, including:

  • Forced Vital Capacity (FVC): The total amount of air a person can exhale forcefully after a deep inhalation.
  • Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second (FEV1): The amount of air expelled in the first second of the forced breath.
  • FEV1/FVC Ratio: This ratio helps in distinguishing between obstructive and restrictive lung diseases.

Common uses of spirometry include:

  1. Diagnosis and Monitoring of Lung Diseases: Spirometry is often used to diagnose and monitor conditions such as asthma, COPD, and other lung diseases.
  2. Assessment of Lung Function: It helps assess how well the lungs are working and whether there is any obstruction or restriction of airflow.
  3. Evaluation of Respiratory Symptoms: For individuals with symptoms like shortness of breath, cough, or wheezing, spirometry can provide objective data to aid in diagnosis.
  4. Preoperative Assessment: It may be used before certain surgeries to evaluate a person’s respiratory fitness.

Is Spirometry useful?

Spirometry is a non-invasive and widely used test in respiratory medicine. It is generally safe, although it may not be suitable for individuals with certain health conditions. The results are often interpreted by healthcare professionals to guide diagnosis and treatment decisions.

 

Spirometry

Pulmonologist, Vienna

Meet the team at NOVA Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Associates

Dr. Aditya Dubey

Dr. Aditya N Dubey, M.D, F.C.C.P. – Founder

Specialty:
Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine
Board Certified by American Board of Internal Medicine in the Subspecialities of Pulmonary Medicine, Critical Care Medicine and Sleep Medicine.  Learn more about Dr. Dubey

Dr. Petra Thomas

Dr. Petra Thomas, M.D.

Specialty:
Pulmonary Medicine
Board Certified by American Board of Internal Medicine in the Subspecialities of Pulmonary Medicine. Learn more about Dr. Thomas

Dr. Arman Murabia

Dr. Arman Murabia, M.D.

Specialty:
Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine
Board Certified by American Board of Internal Medicine in the Subspecialities of Pulmonary Medicine, Critical Care Medicine and Sleep Medicine. Learn more about Dr. Murabia

Rebekah B. Lee, AGNP-C

Rebekah Lee, AGNP-C

Nurse Practitioner.  Learn more about Rebekah Lee

Christine Amorosi, AGNP-C

Christine Amorosi, AGNP-C

Nurse Practitioner.  Learn more about Christine Amorosie

Office Locations

NOVA Pulmonary – Dulles
24430 Stone Springs Boulevard
Suite 200
Dulles, VA 20166

NOVA Pulmonary – Lansdowne
19415 Deerfield Avenue
Suite 301
Landsdowne, VA 20176

NOVA Pulmonary – Vienna
124 Park Street SE
Suite 203
Vienna, VA 22180