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Spirometry is the best test to assess lung function. It often is used to evaluate a person who has a chronic cough and sputum (mucus) production and a history of risk factors for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), even if shortness of breath is not present. It is also used to find out whether a specific therapy has improved lung function or whether your lung disease is getting worse.
Spirometry testing may be done in your doctor's office or in a hospital. During the test:
This should be repeated several times during the visit to ensure accurate results.
This test measures the flow and amount of air when you breathe in and out as deeply and forcefully as you can. For people with COPD, the test is divided into:
The normal values for each of the measurements depend on your age, height, gender, and race. This is known as the predicted value. People with COPD typically have a reduction in FEV1 and may also have a reduction in FVC. A reduction in the ratio of FEV1 to the FVC points to airway obstruction, including COPD and asthma.
These measurements help your doctor diagnose COPD and find out the severity of the disease.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Ken Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology|
|Last Revised||November 29, 2011|
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