Lung function test (spirometry)
When is this exam indicated?
Spirometry is recommended for anyone over 45 years old who smokes or works in dusty environments. In this case spirometry is considered as a preventive examination. On the contrary, spirometry as a diagnostic examination and control of therapy is recommended for those who have respiratory disorders and/or perform therapies.
How is it performed?
A nose clip is applied in order to obtain the maximum effort possible in the test execution and the patient is asked to blow at least 3 times through a disposable mouthpiece, clamped between the lips, connected with a flexible tube to the spirometer. The spirometer is connected to a computer that reproduces and prints the flow-volume curves. The examination is painless and takes about 10 minutes. It is very important to be aware that the use of bronchodilator medications should be discontinued at least 12 hours before the test.
While this is a quick and painless procedure, there are some contraindications, including:
- recent trauma or surgery;
- unstable cardiovascular disease;
- current or recent infections.