Who should and shouldn't take a Spirometry test?

Spirometry is the most common of the pulmonary function tests, measuring lung function, specifically the amount and/or speed of air that can be inhaled and exhaled. It is recommended for these patient groups:

  • patients with undiagnosed respiratory symptoms

  • patients with asthma

  • smokers and former smokers, 40 years of age and older

  • patients with diagnosed lung disease to:

    • determine their baseline lung function (lung capacity, health of the airways) and monitor changes in lung function over time
    • evaluate their lungs’ response to inhaled medications and determine which medications are most effective in treating their lung disease
    • follow-up on changes made to their inhaled medications
    • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients (smokers or ex-smokers 40 years of age and older)
  • COPD patients who have:

    • persistent cough and sputum production
    • frequent respiratory tract infections
    • progressive activity-related shortness of breath
Spirometry is NOT recommended for these patients:
  • Children under 3 years of age

  • People who have:

    • recently suffered a heart attack (MI or myocardial infarction)
    • a collapsed lung (known as a pneumothorax)
    • recently had eye surgery (cataract)
    • recently had a head injury or stroke
    • recently undergone abdominal or thoracic (chest) surgery
    • a blood clot(s) in their lungs (known as pulmonary emboli)
    • hemoptysis of unknown origin (excessive nose bleeds)
    • an active communicable disease (Tuberculosis, HIV, Hepatitis B)
    • presence of an acute illness or symptoms (i.e. nausea, vomiting)
    • thoracic, abdominal or cerebral aneurysms
    • unstable cardiovascular status (angina, blood pressure)