Spirometry (Lung Function)

Spirometry (the measuring of breath) is the most common of the pulmonary function tests, measuring lung function, specifically the amount (volume) and/or speed (flow) of air that can be inhaled and exhaled.

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    What does Spirometry involve?

    • You’ll likely be seated during the test.
    • You will take a deep breath and breathe out as hard as you can for several seconds into a tube. It’s important that your lips create a seal around the tube, so that no air leaks out.
    • You’ll need to do the test at least three times to make sure your results are relatively consistent. If there is too much variation among the three outcomes, you may need to repeat the test again. The highest value among three close test results is used as the final result.

    Your doctor may give you an inhaled medication to open your lungs (bronchodilator) after the initial round of tests. You’ll need to wait 15 minutes and then do another set of measurements. Your doctor then can compare the results of the two measurements to see whether the bronchodilator improved your airflow.

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    How can Spirometry help me?

    A Spirometry test will help your practitioner know if certain bronchodilators will work for your symptoms and therefore will be able to prescribe the best medications for you. It can also be used to rule out certain conditions.

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    What conditions can Spirometry help?

    Spirometry is not a treatment, it is a test. It is indicated for the following reasons:

    • Diagnose or manage asthma
    • Detect respiratory disease in patients presenting with symptoms of breathlessness
    • Distinguish respiratory from cardiac disease as the cause
    • Measure bronchial responsiveness in patients suspected of having asthma
    • Diagnose and differentiate between obstructive lung disease and restrictive lung disease
    • Follow the natural history of disease in respiratory conditions
    • Assess of impairment from occupational asthma
    • Measure response to treatment of conditions which spirometry detects

  4. 4
    Do I need a prescription for a Spirometry test?

    Yes, you will want to discuss the need for a Spirometry test with your Gordon Medical practitioner before scheduling an appointment.

    Use one of the following options to make an appointment:
    Patient Portal for current patients
    New Patient Contact
    (707) 575-5180

  5. 5
    How much time does Spirometry take?

    The amount of time a Spirometry test takes depends on what your practitioner is testing for, and if they would like for you to try a treatment and be retested. The process could take 30-45 minutes.

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    How do I schedule an appointment in the office?

    Appointments can be made Monday through Friday with a Technician.

    Use one of the following options to make an appointment:
    Patient Portal for current patients
    New Patient Contact
    (707) 575-5180

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    How can I prepare for my appointment?

    To prepare you will want to follow your doctor’s instructions about whether you should avoid use of inhaled breathing medications or other medications before the test. Other preparations may include the following:

    • Wear loose clothing that won’t interfere with your ability to take a deep breath.
    • Avoid eating a large meal before your test, so it will be easier to breathe.

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    How often will I need Spirometry?

    The frequency of testing depends on the symptoms being treated, how well the patient is tolerating treatments and how well treatments are working. This will be discussed with you by your practitioner.

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    Is it safe?

    Spirometry is generally a safe test. You may feel short of breath or dizzy for a moment after you perform the test. Because the test requires some exertion, it isn’t performed if you’ve had a recent heart attack or some other heart conditions. Rarely, the test triggers severe breathing problems.