Spirometry is a pulmonary function or breathing test that measures the quantity of air an individual can breathe in and out of their lungs, as well as the level of ease. A provider may order spirometry if the patient has wheezing, shortness of breath, or a cough.
Spirometry is utilized to diagnose asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other conditions that affect breathing. Spirometry may also be used periodically to monitor a patient's lung condition and check whether a treatment for a chronic lung condition is helping the individual breathe better.
To prepare for spirometry, individuals are advised to follow provider instructions regarding whether to avoid use of inhaled breathing medications or other medications prior to the test. Patients should wear loose clothing that won't interfere with their ability to take deep breaths and avoid eating large meals before the exam that might impact their ability to take deep breaths.