A spirometry allows the physician to evaluate the lung function and to diagnose for example asthma. It´s a fast and simple method, which is non-invasive and pain free. Spirometry is important to monitor the natural history of respiratory diseases.
The patient puts his lips around a mouthpiece while the nose is closed with a clip. He then breathes in and out following the physician´s directions. A computer animation helps children to follow the physician´s directions. Usually children at the age of about five years are able to do a spirometry.
The most important values obtained with spirometry are FEV1 and FVC.
FEV1 (Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second) is the volume which is exhaled in one second. In case of bronchial obstruction, the value is reduced. FVC is the Forced Vital Capacity of the lung.
If there is bronchial obstruction, a bronchodilatator test needs to be conducted, to evaluate if the bronchial obstruction is reversible. The patient inhales salbutamol and after 20 minutes spirometric examination is repeated.