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Spirometry testing (Reversibility testing)
What is spirometry testing?
Spirometry is a breathing test that can help to diagnose and monitor lung conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The test is carried out using a machine called a spirometer which measures how well your lungs work. Reversibility testing involves performing spirometry before and after you have taken medication and is sometimes done to investigate a diagnosis of asthma, or when diagnosis is not clear.
What are the benefits of the test?
The benefit of the test is that it can help to diagnose or monitor your lung condition so that you can be given the right treatment. It also helps us to see whether your lung function improves with medication or not.
What are the risks of the test?
Occasionally people feel dizzy during the test or faint; if you feel dizzy or faint please stop and tell the person doing the test. In addition to this, blowing out hard can increase the pressure in your chest, abdomen (tummy), eyes and ears which could cause complications so you may be advised not to have spirometry if you have recently had any of the following:
What are the risks of not having the test?
If you don’t have this test we won’t know how well your lungs are working so you may not get an accurate diagnosis or the most appropriate treatment for your condition.
Please can you ensure:
Preparing for the test
Please stop taking the following medication for the following time periods before your test unless you need to use them because your symptoms are worsening:
|Medication Type||Drug Name||Brand Name|
|For 4-8 hours before|
|Inhaler or nebuliser||Salbutamol||Ventolin, Salamol,|
|Inhaler or nebuliser||Ipratropium bromide||Atrovent|
|For 24 hours before|
|Tablet or syrup||Salbutamol||Ventolin, ventmax|
|For 24-36 hours|
During the test
The appointment can take up to 1 hour; this includes the time for the medication to work and the time to do the test.
We will begin by measuring your height and weight and asking your ethnicity as these details need to be recorded in the spirometer to generate results. This is what happens:
After the test
You can go home and return to your normal activities after the test. Some people find it hard work to do the test, so you may feel tired.