Disability

April 2011

Clinical

Spirometry

Volume 40, No.4, April 2011 Pages 216-219

Miranda A Paraskeva

Brigitte M Borg

Matthew T Naughton

This article forms part of our ‘Tests and results’ series for 2011 which aims to provide information about common tests that general practitioners order regularly. It considers areas such as indications, what to tell the patient, what the test can and cannot tell you, and interpretation of results.

Spirometry measures the flow and volume of air entering and leaving the lungs. It is used to assess ventilatory function and differentiates between normality and diseases causing obstructive and possibly restrictive defects.

Spirometry should be performed early in the assessment of a patient presenting with symptoms of ventilatory dysfunction. Common indications are listed in Table 1.

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Correspondence afp@racgp.org.au

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