What is a Spirometer and Spirometry?
A Spirometer is a device which measures the amount of air that you can breathe in and out. There are various Spirometer devices made by different companies, but they all measure the same thing. They all have a mouthpiece that you use to blow into the device. A Doctor or Nurse may ask you to blow into a Spirometer if you have chest or lung symptoms – this test is called Spirometry.
How is the test done?
You breathe in fully and then seal your lips around the mouthpiece of the Spirometer, you then blow out slowly and as far as you can until your lungs are completely empty. This can take several seconds. You will also be asked to breathe in fully and then breathe out as fast as you can. A clip may be put on your nose to make sure that no air escapes from your nose. The above routine may be done at least three times to check that the readings are much the same each time you blow into the machine.
When attending for your Spirometry test please avoid the following:
- Smoking – for 1 hour prior to you appointment
- Vigorous exercise – 30 minutes prior to your appointment
- Eating a substantial meal – 2 hours prior to your appointment
- Using a short acting inhaler, (blue inhaler), unless necessary – 4 hours prior to your appointment
- Using a long acting inhaler – 12 hours prior to your appointment
- Drinking alcohol – 4 hours prior to your appointment
The Spirometry test should not be carried out if you are on antibiotics or you have had any of the following:
- Current chest infection
- Recent eye surgery – within 3 months
- Recent abdominal surgery – within 3 months
- Aneurism – within 3 months
- Stroke – within 3 months
- Heart attack – within 3 months
- If you are coughing-up blood