Moles Specialist

Internal Medicine of Greater New Haven

Internists located in Hamden, CT & West Haven, CT

Spirometry assesses your pulmonary functions, specifically your lungs. If you have symptoms of asthma or COPD — chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — as well as other breathing disorders, spirometry can help the doctors at Internal Medicine of Greater New Haven diagnose your condition and develop a treatment plan. Men and women who live in Hamden, Connecticut, and the surrounding communities can call the office or use the online booking agent to take advantage of this advanced pulmonary screening tool.

Spirometry Q & A

How does spirometry work?

Spirometry measures the airflow into and out of your lungs. You breathe into a small machine, which measures the amount of air you breathe in and out. Spirometry is sometimes called a lung function test or pulmonary function test.

What conditions does spirometry assess?

If you have a pulmonary condition or trouble with breathing, the doctors at Internal Medicine of Greater New Haven may order a spirometry test. Specific conditions that warrant the screening exam include:

  • Asthma
  • Interstitial pulmonary fibrosis
  • COPD

Any other disorder affecting your lung function may also call for a spirometry test. If you’ve already been diagnosed, the test can assess whether your existing treatment plan is working to improve your breathing.

What happens during a spirometry test?

Plan for the test to last about 15 minutes. You sit in a chair and have a clip placed around your nose to block your nostrils. The technician places a mask over your mouth; the mask is attached to the spirometer. You take a deep breath in, pause full of breath for a few counts, and then exhale forcefully into the breathing mask.

You repeat this breathing procedure several times to get a consistent reading. The test is not painful.

How do I prepare for a spirometry test?

You want to be sure you can breathe normally and comfortably for the test. Do not smoke for one hour before the test and avoid alcohol for four hours prior. Other precautions include:

  • Avoid large meals several hours before the test
  • Wear loose clothing
  • Do not perform vigorous exercise within 30 minutes of the test

If you have an inhaler, the doctor may request you to not use it for several hours prior to the spirometry test. This way, the medication does not affect your readings.

What do spirometry readings mean?

Your doctor evaluates the readings of your spirometry test to determine whether your lungs are functioning normally. Important markers of optimal lung health include how much air you can breathe out after taking a full inhale and the amount of air you can blow out in the first second.

Poor exhalation may indicate lung disease. If you’re currently on a treatment plan for a pulmonary issue, spirometry helps evaluate the effectiveness of this plan.