Patient Information Leaflet


What is Spirometry?

Spirometry is a simple test used to measure how well your lungs are functioning. It can be used to help understand the cause of breathing difficulties or symptoms that are associated with breathing problems and help with making a diagnosis. Spirometry is also useful for patients with known breathing problems such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) as it will enable your doctor to monitor your condition.

It’s carried out using a device called a Spirometer, which is a small machine attached by a cable to a mouthpiece.

Before your appointment

  • Wear loose fitting clothing
  • Do not smoke for 24 hours before the test
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal two to four hours before the test
  • Avoid vigorous exercise 30 minutes before the test
  • Avoid drinking alcohol on day of the test
  • Avoid using long acting once daily inhalers 24 hours before the test
  • Avoid using long acting twice daily inhalers 12 hours before the test
  • Avoid using short acting reliever inhalers 6 to 8 hours before the test, unless you need to use them. If you feel breathless and use your inhaler, please inform the nurse at the start of your test.

Most people are able to have a Spirometry test safely. But the test increases the pressure inside your body, so it may need to be delayed or avoided if you have a condition that could be made worse by this.

Please contact us prior to your appointment if you have, or have recently had, a chest infection or flare up where antibiotics or steroids are being taken, unstable angina, a heart attack, uncontrolled high blood pressure, or an operation to your head, chest, stomach or eyes.

During your appointment

During your appointment we will explain the process to you and help to answer any questions you may have. You will be asked to take a deep breath so that your lungs are filled with air, and then exhale as quickly and forcefully as you can. The machine measures how much air you can breathe out.

After your appointment

Some people may feel dizzy, faint, shaky, sick or tired for a short period afterwards, so you may want to plan to take it easy for the rest of the day. Your doctor will discuss the results of your tests at a future appointment.

Special requirements

All of our patient leaflets are available in large print formats.

If you require additional help or have other accessibility needs, please contact us on 01306 735459