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