Spirometry is an examination that measures the function of our lungs, particularly the patency of the respiratory tract. Everyone should have this examination done at least once in their life.
Not only is it performed to diagnose, monitor and determine the progression of bronchial asthma, but it also examines the bronchial airflow (the flow rate), as well as the volumes and capacities of the lung's air spaces. The examination is performed by means of a device known as spirometer.
During the examination, the patient stands or sits in an upright position, holding a mouthpiece tightly in the mouth. A nose clip is applied to prevent nose breathing.
The examination is not particularly bothersome for the patient, who breathes in and out through the mouthpiece and performs the instruction of the attending physician. The mouthpiece held in the patient’s mouth is connected to the spirometer by means of a tube (a flexible plastic pipe like the one used in vacuum cleaners but with a smaller diameter). There are different procedures for the examination. However, it mostly measures the vital capacity and its components, and registers the forced expiration. Spirometry helps to determine a number of parameters, the most important being: FEV1, FVC, PEF and the FEV1/FVC ratio (known as the Tiffeneau index). The normal values of these indices are specified on the basis of population tests and depend on: sex, age, height and race.
Bronchial obstruction reversibility test:
This test is performed in order to assess the reversibility degree of the patient’s bronchial obstruction. It involves administration of a specific dose of a bronchodilating agent to the patient and repetition of the spirometry examination after 15 minutes. Next, assessment is done on how much the indicators improved.
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