Spirometry Testing in Annapolis, MD
What is Spirometry?
For individuals who experience difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, or other common respiratory symptoms, a spirometry test can help to determine the source of these issues. Your physician will often complete spirometry testing for spirometry their patient along with several other breathing examinations as part of pulmonary function testing, which is used to assess the functionality and health of your lungs.
What Is Being Tested Using Spirometry?
There are three primary measurements taken during spirometry:
- How much air the patient inhales
- How much air is exhaled
- How quickly the air is exhaled
By assessing these three main components of the spirometry results, your physician at Annapolis Asthma, Pulmonary & Sleep Specialists will be better able to determine if you suffer from a respiratory condition, or if ongoing treatment for their condition is working as desired.
Common Lung Conditions
Patients who complete spirometry testing or other types of pulmonary function testing will often come to be diagnosed with one of the following respiratory conditions or diseases:
- Cystic fibrosis
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Other forms of chronic lung disease
Chronic lung conditions can be especially difficult to diagnose without spirometry, as their symptoms can vary widely from one person to the next, and compromised lung function may not be the most prevalent symptom. At Annapolis Asthma, Pulmonary & Sleep Specialists, a majority of our providers will use spirometry as a means of identifying a viral disease, or to diagnose and treat a patient’s asthma.
How the Process Works
Patients should be advised by their physician to complete the following instructions prior to participating in spirometry testing:
- Avoid cold medicines or caffeine before the test
- Do not eat a large meal beforehand
- Refrain from taking regular medications that may alter results from the test such as inhalers
- Do not wear restrictive clothing that may make it difficult to practice deep breathing
- Practice deep inhalations and exhalations prior to spirometry to get a sense of what the test will require
Just before the test, soft clips may be applied to the outside of your nose to prevent airflow through the nasal cavity. This ensures that all available air is being assessed through the mouthpiece used during spirometry testing. This mouthpiece will be connected to a monitor on one end that measures your breathing, while the other end is inserted into the mouth.
Your physician will instruct the patient to breathe in very deeply with their lips sealed around the mouthpiece. You will then be asked to exhale as quickly and strongly as they are able through the mouthpiece. This process may be repeated several times to get an accurate representation of your lung function, or to compare one round of testing to another that is conducted after the patient inhales a bronchodilator to open up their airways. This comparison helps to determine whether or not the your condition is improved using traditional medications like a bronchodilator.
Spirometry testing typically lasts for 10-30 minutes in total depending on how many times the patient is asked to breathe through the spirometric device.
Follow-Up Care and Diagnosis
Your physician will analyze the results from the spirometry and calculate their findings. Ideal measurements will vary depending upon the patient’s exact age, height, race, and gender, so these components will need to be taken into consideration before the results will be available. Once your pediatrician has had a chance to review the data, they will be able to provide additional insight into future treatment or management of your condition.
Patients diagnosed with a chronic lung disorder or disease will require long-term care and maintenance. This is not always as frightening as it may sound, especially when you consider the large portion of the population that is able to regulate their symptoms of asthma. Other, more short-term treatment, may include prescribed antibiotics for a viral infection. If the spirometry results are inconclusive, additional diagnostic testing will often be recommended as the next step toward finding a solution.
When to Contact Annapolis Asthma, Pulmonary & Sleep Specialists
If you are concerned about your breathing in any way, we encourage you to contact your pediatrician as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment. Our facilities are fully equipped with the tools and machinery necessary to conduct spirometry testing as well as other pulmonary function testing to address your healthcare needs. Please call (410) 266-1644 to schedule a consultation!