Why Spirometry?

A spirometry is done to assess the respiratory function. This test should be done routinely by General Practitioners as it is the most sensitive test to detect Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a very common and possibly lethal disease caused mainly by smoking.

The most important test is the "forced vital capacity" (FVC), which gives some very important parameters of the lung function, like the "forced expiratory volume during the first second" (FEV1), the Peak (Expiratory) Flow (PEF) and the FEF25-75 and other "forced expiratory flow"- measurements like FEF75%, FEF50%, FEF25%, FIF50% and PIF.
During the FVC-manoeuvre, the physician should be able to see the flow-volume curve on a screen.
Other tests that can be done with a spirometer are the "maximum voluntary ventilation" (MVV) and the "(slow) Vital Capacity" (VC).

What are the indications for a spirometry?

The indications for spirometry include the need to

AARC Clinical Practice Guideline - Spirometry, 1996 Update

What are the contraindications for a spirometry?

The requesting physician should be made aware that the circumstances listed in this section could affect the reliability of spirometry measurements. In addition, forced expiratory maneuvers may aggravate these conditions, which may make test postponement necessary until the medical condition(s) resolve(s).

Relative contraindications to performing spirometry are

AARC Clinical Practice Guideline - Spirometry, 1996 Update

What are the hazards and complications of a spirometry?


Although spirometry is a safe procedure, untoward reactions may occur, and the value of the information anticipated from spirometry should be weighed against potential hazards. The following have been reported anecdotally:

AARC Clinical Practice Guideline - Spirometry, 1996 Update

How can I detect exercise induces bronchospasm?


The "Exercise Challenge Test" identifiesa patient with Exercise Induced Bronchospasm.


A decline of 15% or more is diagnostic for EIB

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