Spirometry with Reversibility

What is a Spirometry with reversibility test?

Spirometry measures the amount of air you can blow out and how fast you can blow it out. There are different types of spirometry devices, but they all measure the same thing. It is typically used to test for a variety of lung conditions, including COPD and asthma.

Spirometry with reversibility simply means having the test, taking bronchodilators, and then doing the test again. This is to see whether the bronchodilator improves the lung function.

How should I prepare for this test?

In advance of having the test you will be asked several question about any other conditions you may have. This is to ensure that the test is safe for you. If possible, you should try not to smoke for up to 24 hours before having this test. It is also advisable to wear loose fitting clothing.

What to expect during a Spirometry test?

You will be given a mouthpiece to blow into. You may be asked to wear a nose clip to ensure that all the breath is coming out through your mouth. Initially you will be asked to breathe in deeply and out gently. Once your consultant is happy that everything is working as it should be, you will be asked to breathe in deeply and then to breath out as fast and as hard as you can. You may be asked to do this three times to ensure that the reading is consistent and accurate. If you start to feel dizzy or lightheaded you can pause in between breaths.

If you are having a spirometry test with reversibility, you will be asked to take any bronchodilator medication, and then carry out the test again. This is to assess if the bronchodilator is working as it should be.

Following the test, you will be given the results straight away. The test is looking for any narrowing of the airways. The British Lung Foundation explain for the possible results well. They compare someone’s airways to a motorway. If a five-lane motorway is reduced to three lanes, the traffic will move more slowly. If your airways have narrowed or are restricted, then it will take longer for the air to get in or out.

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