Sunday, October 1, 2023

Spirometry: indications, results, what is it?

Definition: what is spirometry (functional lung examination)?

The spirometry It is a painless test that evaluates your ability to breathe and who can participate in diagnosis of various lung diseases as asthma either chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We also talk aboutrespiratory functional examinations (EFR). More precisely, spirometry allows you to measure:

  • the amount of area contained in the lungs (lung volumes);
  • the flow rates of the air expelled during forced expiration, that is, maximum voluntary expiration (expiratory flow).

This test is performed on both adults and children (particularly in cases of childhood asthma).

Asthma, COPD, cough…: why do spirometry?

Your doctor may prescribe spirometry if:

  • You are over 40 years old and smokers or ex-smoker.
  • You cough either spit since a time ago.
  • You breathless while walking and/or have to walk more slowly due to difficulty breathing.
  • Have repeated ENT infections as bronchitis.
  • You have signs of a chronic respiratory disease (COPD, asthma).
  • You are already receiving treatment for a lung disease. In this case, the exam can allow monitor disease progress and treatment effectiveness.

Spirometry: how to prepare for these breathing tests?

During the 6 hours before the exam:

  • Don’t drink alcohol or smoke. ;
  • Don’t do strenuous exercise. ;
  • Don’t eat heavy meals. It is not necessary to fast for this exam.
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Additionally, you must attend the exam wearing comfortable clothing. have position little tight clothing and avoid tight belts at the waist to be able to breathe well. It also prevents it from being too covered to avoid heat.

Spirometry: are there any contraindications?

Spirometry is not recommended if:

  • have just had eye or ENT surgery;
  • recently had a pneumothorax;
  • suffer from unstabilized cardiovascular disease such as myocardial infarction, high blood pressure or pulmonary embolism;
  • You have symptoms of infectious diseases.

Also, if you are taking treatment for a lung disease, you may be asked to stop taking it in preparation for the test. You should also report if you suffer from urine leakage during exercise or vagal discomfort. In the first case, you will need to completely empty your bladder before the exam. In the second, you may be allowed to lie down at any time during the exam. You can also consume a sugary drink before the tests.

Spirometry: how is the test performed?

Spirometry is a quick and painless test. you must plan ouchmaximum 40 minutes. It takes place in a respiratory functional examination laboratory.

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You must make an appointment at the laboratory through the latter’s website and arrive on time. Don’t forget your prescription and his vital card. You will be attended to by laboratory doctor. Sometimes an assistant/nurse may first write down some of the information needed when interpreting the results (age, height, weight, etc.).

You are sitting in front of the doctor who will perform an examination on you. nose clip breathe only through the mouth. You will be asked to blow into a device called spirometer to measure your breathing.

The spirometer is connected to a computer that records the results. The device measures how much air you exhale and how quickly you exhale.

For hygiene reasons, the spirometer is protected with a single use nozzle so that you join your lips.

Breathing exercises

First, the doctor will ask you to breathe normally into the spirometer. You will then be asked to inhale and then exhale completely. Then you will have to repeat the exercise without pausing to breathe. The goal then is to completely empty the lungs. You will repeat this exercise several times.

Other breathing tests

The doctor may consider it necessary to complete these first tests with:

  • A bronchial provocation test. : the exercises are repeated after inhaling a product that constricts the bronchi (histamine or methacholine) to cause an asthma attack. This test is done if you have symptoms that suggest asthma while spirometry is normal.
  • A reverse test either reversibility: The exercises are repeated after inhaling a active that dilates the bronchi (either bronchodilator). If the results improve during the reverse test, you may have asthma.
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Please note that spirometry may require physical effort. If you feel dizzy during this test you should tell your doctor.

Interpretation: how to read spirometry results?

It is not possible to interpret spirometry tests yourself, which provide numerical data and complex curves. It is first of all the laboratory doctor who will provide you with his complete assessment. Depending on your state of health and the assessment of your lung function, you may find it useful to perform other tests immediately or later by making another appointment. Transmit these results to the prescribing doctor.

Spirometry: what happens after these analyzes?

After this exam, you may feel tired. However, he will be able to return to his usual activities. Additionally, he must schedule an appointment with his prescribing physician as part of his follow-up.

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