What is a Spirometry?
Spirometry is a common Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) that measures lung function. The SBG Multi-function Spirometer is a highly versatile hand-held spirometer that provides measurements of Simple Spirometry, Flow Volume Loops, Maximum Voluntary Ventilation and Bronchial Challenge. Generally speaking, it measures the speed and amount of air that a patient inhales and exhales and uses that information to asses conditions such as asthma and COPD that may affect lung function.
(Length of Time: 3 minutes)
Reasons for a Spirometry
A spirometry is a test that is commonly used for patients with:
- Shortness of breath
- Chronic cough
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Smoking, or exposure to secondhand smoke
Since the measurement process only takes a few minutes, this allows the patient to discuss the results immediately with their physician. Additional testing may be necessary in order to better diagnose chronic lung conditions such as asthma.
At the present time, the diagnostic test takes approximately 15 minutes. The patient will be instructed to inhale then exhale into a tube for as long as possible. This tube is attached to a spirometer machine. It is also important for the patient to form a tight seal with the tube, letting no air escape.
A patient will typically take the test three consecutive times to achieve accurate results. Although the highest score is used as the final result, if there is too much discrepancy between results, the patient may need to take the test again. Usually, a patient is given a bronchodilator which is a medication that helps to open the lungs. This will help determine if the medication helps airflow.
A spirometry test measures the following:
Forced Vital Capacity (FVC)
Forced vital capacity is the most amount of air that a patient can exhale following a deep inhalation. If it is abnormally low, this may indicate that the patient has restricted breathing.
Forced Expiratory Volume (FEV-1)
Forced expiratory volume measures the amount of air a patient can force from their lungs within one second. This measurement helps determine the severity of a patient’s breathing problem. An FEV-1 reading that is abnormally low, may indicate a significant lung obstruction.
Generally speaking, a spirometry is a safe and fairly simple test. Due to the exertion involved, a patient may temporarily feel out of breath or dizzy. For those who have certain heart conditions or may have suffered a recent heart attack, a spirometry may not be performed.