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Spirometry test

At The Coker Chest Clinic, we can carry out a spirometry test to aid investigations into lung conditions. This simple test will help confirm or rule out certain conditions, allowing us to provide patients with a confident diagnosis and the correct treatment.

What is a spirometry test?

A spirometry test, also known as a lung function test, is a non-invasive breathing test that is carried out using a machine called a spirometer. This device is comprised of a mouthpiece attached to a tube, which is connected to a measuring instrument.

The patient is seated for the test and may be asked to wear a clip to keep the nostrils closed (this directs the airflow out of the mouth, rather than escaping from the nose). Then, the patient will be instructed to breathe in deeply and hold the breath briefly before exhaling forcefully into the mouthpiece.

The test is repeated at least three times, with the measurements being recorded after each test. The specialist will then calculate the readings in order to determine an accurate result.

In some cases, especially where a breathing disorder is present, the patient may be given bronchodilator medicine and asked to wait 15 minutes before repeating the test. This will allow the specialist to compare the results in order to determine whether the medicine has made a noticeable difference to the patient’s airflow.

What is the purpose of a spirometry test?

The purpose of a spirometry test is to measure the efficiency of the lungs. This is part of a group of tests called pulmonary function tests, all of which are used to determine how well the lungs are working.

Patients may need to take a spirometry test if they have:

  • Symptoms of lung conditions
  • Been exposed to certain chemicals, such as asbestos
  • A chronic lung disease that requires monitoring

A spirometry test can be used to help diagnose the following conditions:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Restrictive or obstructive lung diseases (such as pulmonary or cystic fibrosis)

What’s different about The Coker Chest Clinic?

At The Coker Chest Clinic, we provide the Gold Standard in the testing and diagnosis of lung conditions. The spirometry test is a small part of our investigations and may be followed by further tests to help provide a conclusive diagnosis.

Dr Coker says, “The spirometry test usually takes less than 10 minutes, and is invaluable in helping us to determine whether you have any obstructive or restrictive lung problems. Normal results vary from person to person, depending on age, ethnic background, height and sex of the patient. It is imperative that we perform this test alongside our other investigations before we conclude the correct diagnosis and offer a treatment plan.”

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