A spirometry is a pulmonary exam used to diagnose conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. It is also used to evaluate the overall function of the lungs for patients suffering from chronic lung conditions. This test measures the amount of air the lungs can hold, as well as how fast the air can be exhaled by asking the patient to breathe through a tube attached to a spirometer, which calculates the results. A bronchodilator may be given as part of this exam to more precisely detect any breathing obstructions.
A spirometry is recommended for patients with the following conditions:
- Chronic cough
- Shortness of breath
- Bronchitis, or a family history of bronchitis
- Emphysema, or a family history of emphysema
Each measurement process takes just a few minutes to perform, and results can be discussed with the doctor right away. Additional testing may be required in order to accurately diagnose asthma or other chronic lung conditions.