Thanks to spirometry, a quick, simple and non-invasive assessment of a patient’s lung function is possible. This is a test that measures the volume of air in our lungs, as well as its flow and speed during inhalation and exhalation, which can reflect a change in lung function.

During spirometry, which is usually done by a nurse, the patient has to blow hard and fast through a device where measurements are taken with equipment that produces results with which the doctor can diagnose possible respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. (COPD).

Dr. Juan Pablo López Muñoz, General Practitioner at Quirónsalud Cáceres Hospital, pointed out that the two main parameters measured in spirometry are forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1), and the ratio between the two.

While FVC is related to the amount of air we can forcefully exhale after taking a deep breath, FEV1 is velocity, measuring the amount of air we can exhale in one second.

If any of these parameters are below normal, this may indicate airway obstruction or respiratory restriction.

The results will be interpreted by a specialist who, taking into account other aspects such as age, height or sex, as well as symptoms reported by the patient, will show the severity of the obstruction, if any.


“Pathologies that can be assessed with spirometry include asthma, COPD, interstitial pulmonary fibrosis, or diseases that affect the neuromuscular junction, among others,” says Dr. Lopez Muñoz. The test is ordered by a doctor at a consultation after a clinical interview and physical examination of a patient who is a very common smoker who has symptoms such as difficulty breathing at rest, shortness of breath with regular physical activity, cough or runny nose. morning.

Similarly, the test is not contraindicated for smokers who do not have these symptoms, since, as expert Quirónsalud Cáceres points out, “there are studies that show a greater motivation to quit smoking after performing this test.”

This is because spirometry results in smokers, while not revealing any respiratory disease, may reflect a different than chronological lung age and lung function impairment, which alerts the patient to the dangers of tobacco.

Other scenarios where the test is recommended are people who are about to start complex exercise programs or high performance athletes. Patients undergoing thoracic, cardiovascular, or abdominal surgery may also need information about their lung condition.


Before taking the test, Dr. Juan Pablo López recommends following a number of preliminary tips, such as not smoking or exercising a few hours before the procedure, not drinking alcohol or tranquilizers four hours before the procedure, and avoiding caffeinated foods six hours before the procedure. test or not eat large meals before spirometry, although fasting is not necessary.

However, the best guidelines to follow are those aimed at having healthy lungs, such as quitting or not smoking, not exposing yourself to tobacco smoke, maintaining a healthy weight according to our conditions, or exercising physical activity. In the same way, other tips can be applied, such as limiting exposure to polluted air if we are going to engage in outdoor activities or doing breathing exercises to strengthen the diaphragm.

All this will make our respiratory system work more adequately, which is necessary for a good quality of life, which is not limited to lung problems that affect our daily life.

Source link