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Spirometry Test

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Spirometry is a simple, non-invasive procedure and common diagnostic test used to assess lung function and detect various respiratory conditions, including  asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pulmonary fibrosis.  It does so by measuring the volume and flow of air that a person can inhale and exhale.  During a spirometry test, a patient breathes into a device called a spirometer, which measures the volume and flow of air expelled from the lungs.

During spirometry, the patient breathes into a device called a spirometer, which is connected to a computer. The spirometer records various parameters of lung function, including:

What Spirometry tests for:

  • Lung Capacity
    • Forced Vital Capacity (FVC)
      The Maximum volume of air forcefully exhaled after taking a deep breath
    • Forced Expiratory Volume in one second (FEV1)
      The maximum volume of air forcefully exhaled in the first second of forced exhalation
    • FEV1/FVC Ratio
      The ratio of FEV1 to FVC, which helps assess airway obstruction
  • Airway Limitation
    Spirometry can identify airflow limitations, such as those seen in conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. Reduced FEV1 and FEV1/FVC ratio indicate obstructive lung diseases, characterized by difficulty exhaling air from the lungs.
    • Restrictive Lung Diseases
      Spirometry can also detect restrictive lung diseases, which reduce lung expansion and capacity. Conditions like interstitial lung disease and pulmonary fibrosis typically exhibit reduced lung volumes without significant airflow obstruction.
      • Monitoring Disease Progression
        Spirometry is crucial for monitoring disease progression and treatment effectiveness in respiratory conditions. Regular spirometry tests allow healthcare providers to track changes in lung function over time and adjust treatment plans accordingly.
        • Preoperative Assessment
          Spirometry may be used as part of preoperative evaluations to assess lung function and determine the risk of postoperative complications, particularly in patients undergoing thoracic or abdominal surgeries.

          Importance of Spirometry

          • Early Diagnosis
            Spirometry enables early detection of respiratory conditions, facilitating timely intervention and better management outcomes.
          • Treatment Monitoring
            Regular spirometry assessments help healthcare providers monitor disease progression and evaluate the effectiveness of treatment interventions.
          • Risk Assessment
            Spirometry aids in assessing lung function and identifying individuals at risk for respiratory complications, guiding preventive measures and treatment strategies.
          • Patient Education
            Spirometry results empower patients to understand their lung health status, motivating adherence to treatment plans and lifestyle modifications for improved respiratory function.

            Spirometry is typically performed while the patient is seated and wearing a nose clip to ensure that all air is exhaled through the mouth. The patient is instructed to take a deep breath and then exhale as forcefully and completely as possible into the spirometer. The test is usually repeated several times to ensure accuracy, and the highest values obtained for FVC and FEV1 are recorded.

            Interpreting spirometry results involves comparing the patient's values to predicted values based on age, sex, height, and ethnicity. Abnormal spirometry results may indicate underlying respiratory conditions such as asthma, COPD, restrictive lung diseases, or airway obstruction.

            Spirometry is valuable not only for diagnosing respiratory conditions but also for monitoring disease progression, assessing treatment effectiveness, and guiding therapeutic decisions. It is considered the gold standard for assessing lung function and is widely used in clinical practice, primary care settings, respiratory clinics, and occupational health assessments. Additionally, spirometry can be used to screen for lung function abnormalities in individuals at risk, such as smokers or those with a family history of respiratory disease.

            If you feel you have breathing problems please contact your practice to make an appointment with a clinician to plan the best way forward for you.

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            Bransholme Surgery

            Bransholme Health Centre
            Goodhart Road
            HU7 4DW

            Tel: 01482 336100

            Southcoates Surgery

            225 Newbridge Road
            HU9 2LR

            Tel: 01482 335560

            Field View Surgery

            840 Beverley Road
            HU6 7HP

            Tel: 01482 853270city health practice website

            The Orchard Centre

            210 Orchard Road
            HU6 9BX

            Tel: 01482 303850

            Elliott Chappell Health Centre

            215 Hessle Road
            HU3 4BB

            Tel: 01482 303840

            St Ives Close
            Wawne Road
            Sutton upon Hull
            HU7 4PT

            Tel: 01482 826457

            The Quays

            2nd Floor
            Wilberforce Health Centre
            6-10 Story Street
            HU1 3SA

            Tel:01482 335335

            Riverside Medical Centre

            The Octagon
            Walker Street
            HU3 2RA

            Tel: 01482 335335

            East Park Practice

            2nd Floor
            Wilberforce Health Centre
            6-10 Story Street
            HU1 3SA

            01482 335335
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