How is a Spirometry Test Performed? banner

By westgate December 4, 2020

How is a Spirometry Test Performed?

A spirometry test is recommended if there are any questions about the quality of your lung function. There may be concerns you have asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, lung disease, etc. This simple test effectively measures how well airflow moves in and out of your lungs.

Here’s what to expect during a spirometry test in Spartanburg, SC:

  • A clip will be placed on your nose to keep your nostrils closed.
  • A breathing mask will be placed around your mouth.
  • When you are ready, you will take a deep breath in, hold your breath a few seconds and then breath out as hard as you can. It’s normal to feel a little dizzy right after the test.
  • This process will be repeated several times.
  • Your doctor will measure your expiratory forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1).
  • The test results will be analyzed to determine your final reading, including the FEV1/FVC ratio. 

Understanding the Acronyms

FVC is the greatest total amount of air you can forcefully breathe out. There are normal percentages for this reading for adults and children; if your FVC falls below the normal range, something may be restricting your breathing.

FEV1 is the amount of air you can force out of your lungs in one second. Again, there are normal percentages for this reading; if your FEV1 falls below the normal range, your doctor will know the severity of your breathing problem.

If your doctor suspects you might have a breathing disorder, you may need to repeat the test after taking a bronchodilator medication. This would be done during the same visit. The test results from this new round would be measured against the first round to determine if there is any change. Your doctor may also request x-rays or blood tests to further assess your condition.

Tips to Prepare for Your Test

You’ll want to be as physically comfortable as possible for your spirometry test.

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing
  • Do not eat a heavy meal before your appointment
  • Do not smoke at least one hour before your test
  • Do not drink alcohol the day of your test

Tell your doctor about all medications you are currently taking. It may be recommended that you postpone taking certain medications prior to your test.

If you have been having any type of breathing difficulties, contact the team at Westgate Family Physicians – family doctors in Spartanburg, SC – to schedule an appointment. We can assess your overall health and may recommend a breathing test in Spartanburg to rule out any type of lung problems. Please call (864) 574-0070 or click here to schedule an appointment.