Lung function examination (spirometry)

What is a lung function examination?

In the lung function examination (spirometry), the lung volumes and ventilation size are measured and displayed graphically. This indicates whether the respiratory tract is constricted or displaced (obstructive ventilation disorders), such as in the case of asthma, emphysema or respiratory tract stenoses, or whether the lung volume is reduced (restrictive ventilation disorders).

When is a lung function diagnosis necessary?

Spirometry provides indications of respiratory tract or lung diseases, and is used for monitoring therapies against such diseases. It also helps in determining whether the cause of shortness of breath should best be looked for in the heart of the lungs.

In the treatment of cardiovascular diseases with medications, such as in the case of high blood pressure (arterial hypertension), spirometry can be used to prevent a possibly damaged lung from being damaged further by the use of medications. The checking of the lung function can also be important if an operation is imminent.

Procedure

The patient is fitted with a nose-clip, and breathes on the instructions of the doctor into a mouthpiece, which is connected by a tube to a measuring device (spirometer). During the measurement, the doctor requests the patient to breathe quickly and heavily, or slowly and deeply. The spirometer measures the air flow and the air volume, and displays the measured values on a monitor.

The examination is carried out in our practice on an out-patient basis.

Duration

The examination takes a few minutes.

Risks

The examination involves practically no risks for the patient.

Note

During the examination, the patient must maintain the same body posture. The quality of the examination depends on how well the patient cooperates, i.e. how closely he follows the doctor’s instructions.

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