Spirometry image

Spirometry is a breathing test that measures

  • how much air you can blow out and
  • how fast you can blow air out.

Video of Dr. Roger Goldstein Talks About Spirometry

A Demo Video of Spirometry

Why is spirometry done?

Spirometry can help your doctor to:

  • Diagnose lung conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Check the current condition of your lungs. It is possible that your lung condition has changed.
  • Help discover the cause of shortness of breath
  • Check the effectiveness of medication, and to make a change in prescription if that is necessary.

How is the test performed?

You will be asked to breathe through a mouthpiece while wearing a nose clip. The tester will coach you to take in as big a breath as possible. You will then blast the air out as fast as you can until your lungs feel completely empty. You may then be asked to take another deep breath in again. You will do this three times or more. You may also be given a medication to breathe in. The test will then be repeated to show if your lungs have responded to the medication.

How to prepare for the test

  • Do not smoke for 1 hour before test
  • Do not drink alcohol within 4 hours of test
  • Do not eat a large meal within 2 hours of test
  • Please wear loose clothing
  • Do not perform vigorous exercise within 30 minutes of test

Page Last Updated: 23/01/2015