Spirometry Information  

What is Spirometry?

Spirometry is a basic breathing test which measures the amount of air that you can blow out. Your clinician has requested this test to assess your lung function.

What are the benefits of having Spirometry?

Your clinician will use the results of the test to help them diagnose problems with your breathing or monitor existing breathing conditions.

How is it done?

The individual performing the test will measure your height and weight, also ask a few questions.  You will sit in front of the equipment (Spirometer) and be asked to take a deep breath in and blow into the Spirometer. This routine will be repeated to ensure the results are consistent.

Inhaler and Spacer

You may be given an inhaler (bronchodilator) and have the test repeated 15-20 minutes later to see if there is any improvement. This does not automatically mean you will be prescribed an inhaler long-term. Unless specified by your prescribing clinician, the inhaler given will contain Salbutamol.

Will I feel any pain or discomfort?

The test is not painful but can feel a little uncomfortable. Some patients experience light-headedness. You will be encouraged to do as much as you can and given time to recover between tests.

How long will the test take?

The test will take between 10 and 30 minutes. Some of this time may involve waiting while any medication we give you takes effect.

How should I prepare for Spirometry?

Please bring all your inhalers to your appointment. In the 4 hours prior to your appointment please DO NOT use any of the following inhalers:

  • Ventolin / Salbutamol / Salamol (Blue)
  • Combivent (Grey)
  • Atrovent (White/Green)
  • Bricanyl / Terbutaline (Blue)
  • Ipratropium Bromide

If you feel breathless and take any of these inhalers within the four hours before the test please inform the clinician at the start of your test.

Do take all of your other medications as normal.

  • Please do not smoke in the 24 hours before the test.
  • Please do not drink alcohol on the day of the test.
  • Please avoid eating a large meal two hours before the test.
  • Please wear non-restrictive comfortable clothing.

If on the date of your test you have a chest infection and are taking antibiotics, please ring your clinic to change the date of your appointment. A chest infection will affect your test and give your clinician invalid results.

What are the risks involved?

The procedure is very low risk. However, you should tell the clinician if you have any of the following:

  • Coughed up blood recently and the cause is not known.
  • Pneumothorax
  • Had a heart attack or stroke within the last six weeks
  • Uncontrolled angina
  • Had any surgery in the last six weeks
  • Any thoracic, abdominal or cerebral aneurysms