Spirometry Tests Your Lung Function

Spirometry is a simple test to measure how much (volume) and how fast (flow) you can move air into and out of your lungs. A technologist will instruct you on how to perform the test and coach and encourage you to do your best. A good effort during the test is important to get good results.

Performing the test

1. You will be asked to place a mouthpiece attached to the spirometer in your mouth. It is important to make a tight seal with your lips so all of the air will go into the spirometer to be measured. You will also wear noseclips to keep air from leaking out of your nose
2. After breathing normally you will be asked to slowly blow out until your lungs are empty
3. Then you will take a big deep breath in filling up your lungs completely
4. As soon as your lungs are full, you will blow out as hard and as fast as you can until you are absolutely empty.
5. You will be asked to repeat the test until there are three good efforts

This test allows us to measure your:

* Forced Vital Capacity (FVC) the amount of air you can force out of your lungs after a maximum inspiration
* Forced Expiratory Volume in the first second (FEV1)
* Peak Expiratory Flow Rate (PEFR) how fast you can blow out the air in your lungs
* Forced Inspiratory Vital Capacity (FIVC) the amount of air you can take into your lungs
* The shape of your Flow Volume Loop (FVC + FIVC) also provides information to you physician

Spirometry may be done alone or combined with other tests. For example, you may be asked to withhold taking some medications and then do the spirometry. You would then be given your medicine and asked to repeat doing the spirometry. Spirometry may also be done before and after exercise or during bronchial challenge testing.

Pulmonary function testing measures how well you are breathing. There are different types of pulmonary function tests that can be done. Spirometry is one type of pulmonary function test. Spirometry is a simple test to measure how much (volume) and how fast (flow) you can move air into and out of your lungs.

Why test my lung function?

Through routine spirometry, lung diseases can often be diagnosed in the early stages when treatment is most effective. Once a lung disease is diagnosed and treated, routine spirometry tests can monitor changes in lung functions with specific treatment. This will help your doctor find the best treatment plan for you.

"The spirometry test is really analogous to the blood pressure measurement. Both should be given every time a physician sees a patient, since both tests show changes that can be recognized immediately."

Nebulizer Treatment for Asthmatics

A nebulizer is a machine that uses compressed air to deliver asthma medicine as wet aerosol, a mist that can be inhaled. Nebulizers are most often used for children younger than 5, people who have difficulty using inhalers, and those with severe asthma. Nebulizers are also used by people with chronic lung diseases, such as emphysema. The most common medications used in a nebulizer are bronchodilators (such as albuterol) to help open up air passages and inhaled steroids.

Nebulizers have three main parts: a cup that holds the medication, a mouthpiece or mask attached to a "T"-shaped part, and a thin, plastic tube that connects the mouthpiece to the compressor. There are home and hospital models of nebulizers, as well as portable units. The portable machines run on batteries or can be plugged into your car's cigarette lighter.