Spirometry is the most common test of lung function. It is used to measure speed in and out of the lungs. It is a reproducible and objective measurement, which is simple and in-expensive to perform. Spirometers can cost between $1,000 to $3,000.
It is also safe and very quick to perform and with the correct coaching almost all people can correctly perform the test.
Why do we measure lung function?
It can be used as a diagnostic tool to evaluate dysfunction and to evaluate symptoms. Spirometry is very useful in screening for early diagnosis in at risk populations such as smokers and those exposed to dust, etc.
Workplace, pre-employment assessments and disability evaluation are other areas where spirometry is very useful.
Spirometry can be used in clinical research and for the monitoring of disease. Some drugs can be toxic to the lungs, and therefore it is important to closely monitor the lung function.
The global initiative for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) uses spirometry as a screening tool for the early detection of COPD in smokers. The Global Initiative for Asthma guidelines (GINA) measures airflow limitation and its reversibility to assist in establishing a diagnosis of asthma.