When should a spirometry test be performed?
A spirometry test is particularly advised if a patient experiences a symptom that relates directly to the healthy functioning of their lungs. For instance, this could be a persistent ongoing cough, a chest infection, unexplained difficulty in breathing, an irritation or they are over 35 and a smoker.
Another reason someone may need a spirometry test would be if they are under consideration for surgery or a doctor may need it as part of several tests, even if it’s not directly related to the lungs, it may help to diagnose another condition. People who work in industries where they are exposed to fumes, chemicals and dust are also recommended for testing.
What is FVC?
Forced vital capacity (FVC) is the amount of air that can be forcibly exhaled from your lungs after taking the deepest breath possible, as measured by spirometry. This test may help distinguish obstructive lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD, from restrictive lung diseases, such as pulmonary fibrosis and sarcoidosis.
FVC can also help doctors assess the progression of lung disease and evaluate the effectiveness of treatment. An abnormal FVC value may be chronic, but sometimes the problem is reversible and the FVC can be corrected.
Types of spirometry tests
Spirometry can involve several different instruments in order to diagnose a condition. All spirometers however will conduct the same tests, to measure the amount of air a patient inhales and exhales. An additional test a doctor may perform is bronchodilator responsiveness testing (also known as reversibility testing). This test involves the patient taking a spirometry test, take a medication, and then tested again to see if their lung function improves.