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Spirometer

Why use a spirometer

A spirometer is an instrument needed to test lung function. It can be used to test how well a person breathes in and out, which can help to determine whether the lungs are affected by any lung diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary fibrosis and cystic fibrosis. A spirometer is needed to assess the variability of airflow obstruction, as well as to measure the extent of airflow obstruction compared to predicted normal airflow within the lungs. The spirometer will measure the amount and/or speed of air that can be inhaled and exhaled.

When to use a spirometer

The use of a spirometer is ideal for individuals for a variety of reasons. Most commonly, a spirometer should be used where a person suffers from shortness of breath and it is necessary to find the cause and allow for the diagnosis of any lunch disease present, such as asthma. A spirometer is also a critical instrument to use in measuring whether exposure to chemicals at work affect the lung function of an individual. Spirometers are particularly useful before and during medical treatment, including in checking lung function before surgery, assessing the effect of medication and measuring progress in disease treatment. With spirometers available in larger and more sophisticated versions in hospitals, as well as small portable devices at GP surgeries, spirometers can be used in a variety of settings depending on the needs of the patient.

How to use a spirometer

Using a spirometer involves breathing into the spirometer machine. First, the patient will be required to breathe in fully and seal their lips around the spirometer mouthpiece. Next, the patient will flow out as fast and as far as they can until their lungs are completely empty, which ordinarily takes several seconds. In some instances, the patient may also be asked by the person taking the spirometer test to breathe out into the spirometer machine as slowly and as far as they can to measure their lung functionality.