Spirometry can be used to help diagnose a lung condition if you have symptoms of a problem, or your doctor feels you’re at an increased risk of developing a particular lung condition. For example, it may be recommended if you have a persistent cough or breathlessness, or if you’re over 35 and smoke.
Conditions that can be picked up and monitored using spirometry include:
- Asthma– a long-term condition in which the airways become periodically inflamed (swollen) and narrowed
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)– a group of lung conditions where the airways become narrowed
- Cystic fibrosis– a genetic condition in which the lungs and digestive system become clogged with thick, sticky mucus
- Pulmonary fibrosis– scarring of the lungs
If you have already been diagnosed with one of these conditions, spirometry may be carried out to check the severity of the condition or see how you’re responding to treatment.
Spirometry is a simple test used to help diagnose and monitor certain lung conditions by measuring how much air you can breathe out in one forced breath.
It’s carried out using a device called a spirometer, which is a small machine attached by a cable to a mouthpiece.