Important - Please note: PATCHS is only available during surgery opening hours and will NOT be seen by a GP over a weekend, bank holiday or evenings  If you require medical attention when the surgery is closed please ring 111 or visit  If you have a life-threatening emergency please ring 999

The Villa Medical Centre

1-2 Roman Road, Prenton, Wirral, CH43 3DB

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Spirometry testing (Reversibility testing)

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:

  • Unstable angina
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Blood clot in your lung
  • Pneumothorax (burst lung)
  • Aneurysm
  • Surgery to the chest or abdomen
  • Eye surgery A burst ear drum
  • Coughing up any blood of unknown cause

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:

  1. You submit a photograph of your lateral flow test on the day of your test following the link on this message
  2. Read the information sheet about Spirometry testing prior to your appointment
  3. Stop any medication as per the list on the information sheet
  4. Please try and refrain from smoking 24 hours before the test
  5. You haven’t had antibiotics, steroids or a chest infection in the last 6 weeks
  6. Avoid eating a large meal for 2 hours before the test
  7. Avoid vigorous exercise for 30 minutes before the test
  8. Avoid alcohol on the day before the test
  9. Bring your blue inhaler (plus your spacer device) to perform the test
  10. Wear loose fitting clothing

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 Terbutaline Bricanyl
Inhaler or nebuliser Ipratropium bromide Atrovent
For 24 hours before
Inhaler Salmeterol Seretide, Serevent
Inhaler Fometerol Symbicort, Fostair,
Inhaler Vilanterol Relvar Ellipta
Tablet Theophylline Uniphylline Continus
Tablet Aminophylline Phyllocontin continus
Tablet or syrup Salbutamol Ventolin, ventmax
For 24-36 hours
Inhaler Tiotropium Spiriva
Inhaler Glycopyrronium Seebri
Inhaler Alcidniumbromide Eklira Genuair

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:

  1. You will be asked to take a deep breath in and then seal your lips around the spirometer mouthpiece and you will be asked to hold your nose or place a nose clip on your nose.
  2. You will be asked to blow out slowly as far as you can; this may take several seconds.
  3. This will be repeated a few times so we can check the readings are the same each time.
  4. You will then be asked to take a deep breath in, seal your lips around the spirometer mouthpiece and breathe out as fast and hard as you can until it feels like your lungs are empty; this may take several seconds.
  5. You will be asked to repeat this a few times so we can check the readings are the same each time.
  6. We will then ask you to use an inhaler and wait for approximately 20minutes for this to work; this is to help your airways to be as wide open as possible.
  7. The test will then be repeated so we can see any effect the medication has on your lungs.

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.

Rachel Ridgway

Nurse Manager


Opening Times

  • Monday
    08:30am to 12:30pm
    01:30pm to 06:30pm
  • Tuesday
    07:00am to 12:30pm
    01:30pm to 06:30pm
  • Wednesday
    08:30am to 12:30pm
    01:30pm to 06:30pm
  • Thursday
    08:30am to 12:30pm
    01:30pm to 06:30pm
  • Friday
    07:00am to 12:30pm
    01:30pm to 06:30pm
  • Saturday
    Please call NHS 111 if you require an out of hours GP appointment over the weekend
  • Sunday
    Please call 111 if you require an out of hours GP appointment over the weekend
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