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Anyone ever failed a spirometry?

Hey, I posted this in my thread but I thought it'd be an interesting thread in itself. Had my first spirometry today and I just could not do the forced exhalation. We had over 10 tries (Even though you're only supposed to go for 8 I think, but I was determined to try) and we managed one, just about passable result to send to the GP. The issue was after the forced blow out of air, my lungs were empty, the nurse was still saying "Keep blowing" etc and I had nothing, it actually hurt trying, and the computer just said "Abrupt Stop" and refused to accept the result.

Has this happened to anyone else?

More broadly, what are other peoples experiences of spirometry, have you found it to be a useful tool in your diagnosis, did you struggle to get through it?

8 Replies

Now I wish I posted my other answer here lol. Am crap at it and hate it plus I get some.odd results.

My previous consultant kept saying well you're never obstructed (meaning the ratio.between FVC/FEV1 ie total.volume that can be exhaled, vs the volume exhaled.in a second, is less than 70%) so she decided I must be fine and.it was in my head especially with no wheeze. She knew.I found it hard to do and blamed me and the nurses who did it but decided that meant it didn't mean anything except that I was fine. There was an amazing nurse at that clinic who actually remembered all these details about me and would comment if it was low and when i said oh it's just me.being rubbish she said no I saw you, it was acceptable result but lower so.means you are struggling.

When the asthma nurse showed me all my results over the years I noticed a definite decline.- the ratio was ok because both numbers, FVC and FEV1 were often low! Even allowing for poor.technique there was.a trend - I used to have a really massive FVC and occasionally manage that still. I used to get 3.7 FEV1 and more as a best which is above predicted for me. Now it has really dropped and my current cons remarked 2.23 FEV1 was a good result (predicted for me.is 3.5, you are.meant to be over 80% predicted)

Another cons was amazed at this when I told him as he said I had never got over 2.0 with that clinic (I was seen in 2 clinics at once then) He didn't believe that it was all.poor.technique like the first cons - I think he had seen the numbers I was getting when I first went there. I kept saying it was technique and he kept saying no! My peak flow meanwhile has not changed much ovee the years.

I do find reversibility is much more use than the test in general. As I mentioned on my other post I often struggle with getting decent results but after Ventolin they can improve quite a lot. I remember the delights of my last full set where the guy was in despair and so.was.I of getting a usable set! Luckily he did and also he was very nice and didn't shout. Sometimes they shout as encouragement which I find annoying but ok. However.I have had some technicians etc who took out their frustration on me and properly got cross as though I were doing it on purpose.to annoy them. Just what I need!

In general.I think I don't get useful results especially if unwell. I really hate it then as it is so much effort.

My asthma.nurse uses a small portable Peak flow and FEV1 meter - not as accurate maybe but easy to use and compare visit to visit. I have one at home too though not as fancy as hers. I find the FEV1 more useful than my peak flow for tracking how I am doing. My peak flow does nothing that makes sense lol.

Sorry for the ramble but hope this helps.

1 like

I enjoy rambles :)

It really does seem that getting a good cons is an invaluable thing, the nurse who did my test today didn't shout at me, thank god, I wouldn't respond well to that lol.

Thank you for the reply, sometimes it just helps to talk about it, especially after today, I'd pinned a lot of hopes on getting answers today and I walked away still with no clear answer, hearing other peoples experiences really does help :)


Oh, the shouting!

"Keep going! Keep going! You can still do more! Keep going!"



I feel like a horse that someone has bet the rent on!! Lol. I usually have no more to give!

Real.low point though was the cons who made me do spirometry, on a machine that was in a waiting area so others could see/hear, to 'prove' I didn't have asthma. He got loudly annoyed with me after two failed attempts, told me it proved his point and he wouldn't bother trying to get more, then used a reading from the attempts he said were no good in his letter, to show I didn't have asthma. (It was 2.7. If valid that would be 77% predicted and 73% of the best recorded in that clinic. Not terrible but not the best.)

Oops sorry to rant. I just have awful memories of spirometry!

1 like

I hate doing it i find it hard and dread doing it but it's a useful tool to see where my declines and improvements are and to see what my lungs are like on a page/screen So i know how crap they are. Also it can prove to people that my lungs are bad and that taking my inhalers don't always help me

I've got mine next week wish me luck I know the results are going to be bad cos I'm struggling with my asthma ATM

Also there are days for me where I struggle doing my peak flow and I think if I can't do this then how can I do spirometry


Good Luck for it, I hope it goes well and isn't too taxing for you! I'm actually the opposite I find that I can nearly always give a good peak flow when my symptoms are bad, but some days I give a poor peak flow when feeling okay. It's bizarre!


Yes. I have had exactly the same result as you on my last test about 2 months back. Previous tests all went okay.


If I have to spirometry when I am unwell, ie Asthma very bad, I always start coughing in the middle, and no matter how many times they try, it just doesn’t work. And I end up gasping and clutching my Ventolin.

The thing is, I find that when I am sick they desperately want a reading, but I just say I can’t do it. And then they want me to try.... When I am well I can do the tests just fine.

I also have an electronic PF/ FEV1 reader at home and I find that the results tend to mirror each other.




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