Spirometry testing now available at SMC
What is spirometry?
Spirometry is a standard test we use to measure how well your lungs are functioning. The test works by measuring airflow into and out of your lungs.
This test requires you to sit and breathe into a small machine called a spirometer. This medical device measures the amount of air you breathe in and out and the speed of your breath.
Spirometry tests are used to diagnose these conditions:
- restrictive lung disease (such as interstitial pulmonary fibrosis)
- other disorders affecting lung function
They also allow us, as your doctors, to monitor chronic lung conditions to check that your current treatment is improving your breathing.
Preparing for a spirometry test
Try to avoid smoking one hour before a spirometry test. It is advisable to avoid avoid alcohol that day. Eating too large of a meal could also impact your ability to breathe.
Don’t wear clothing that’s so tight that it could restrict your breathing. If possible, the following medications should also be avoided :
- 4 hours prior – NO RELIEVERS (e.g Ventolin, Atrovent, Bricanyl, Asmol, Airomir, Intal, Tilade etc)
- 12 hours prior – NO PREVENTERS (eg. Serevent, Flixotide, Seretide, Symbicort, Oxis, Pulmicort, Spiriva, Combivent, Theopbyline, Singulair, Qvar, Alvesco etc)
Things to bring on day of spirometry tests
Things to bring on the day of your tests:
- Bring your signed valid lung function referral/request form
- Bring a list of any breathing medications that you are currently on
- Bring a bottle of water if having a bronchial provocation test
A spirometry test usually takes about 15 – 30 minutes and will be performed by Eastern Respiratory Service here at Summerhill Medical Centre. You will however require a referral from a GP. Here’s what happens during a spirometry procedure:
- You’ll be seated in a chair in one of our rooms. A technician will clip on your nose to keep both nostrils closed. They also place a cup-like breathing mask around your mouth.
- The technician will then instruct you to take a deep breath in, hold your breath for a few seconds, and then exhale as hard as you can into the breathing mask.
- You’ll repeat this test at least three times to make sure that your results are consistent. The technician may have you repeat the test more times if there is a lot of variation between your test results. They’ll take the highest value from three close test readings and use it as your final result.
If you have evidence of a breathing disorder, the technician might then give you an inhaled medication known as a bronchodilator to open up your lungs after the first round of tests. They’ll then ask you to wait 15 minutes before doing another set of measurements. Afterward, the technician will compare the results of the two measurements to see whether the bronchodilator helped increase your airflow.
When used to monitor breathing disorders, a spirometry test is typically done once a year to once every two years to monitor changes in breathing in people with well-controlled COPD or asthma. Those with more severe breathing problems or breathing problems that aren’t well controlled are advised to have more frequent spirometry tests.
Click here to make an appointment with our GP to talk about having a spirometry test and getting a referral: Book now