CT scan and Spiromity tests. - British Lung Foun...

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CT scan and Spiromity tests.

1968 profile image

How often should you get a CT scan done, I last had one in 2011. Should you get a spiromity test done every year? I had one in 2012 and 2013.


22 Replies
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Hi I care for my husband who has severe Copd. He has never had a ct scan and only had an X-ray in hospital about four years ago when he was admitted as an emergency after a drug reaction. He does however have a spirometry test every year at the gp surgery by the nurse. Hope that helps. The BLF helpline might be able to give you some definitive guidelines. Take care TAD xx

1968 profile image
1968 in reply to Hidden

I thought that, i'd better give them a call and see what I should be doing, last visit a few months ago doc said he didn't need to see me again, if i feel i have changes then i should contact him.


Hi 1968, CT scans or xrays are not done as routine for lung conditions usually. However if you have a flare up of condition one may be done. However it is recommended that spiromitry tests be done annually for those with chronic lung conditions. The test only shows how your breathing is on the day so may not be a true reflection of your day to day breathing or symptoms. But it can show any vast changes in your condition that you may not have noticed.

I think it depends on how severe your condition is and how well it is managed. I have only had 1 CAT scan but 2 xrays this year and a spirometry test every 3 months.

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Hi David, ct scans and X-rays are only done when really neccasary and not as a routine due to the radiation, not good being exposed to it often. Spirometery tests are done annually or if u are unwell or conditions change they can be repeated at any time. X Sonia x

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I have only every had 1 spirometry test done 5 years ago when I was diagnosed. I have a peak and flow one done once a year. What does a spirometry test show that a peak and flow test doesn't please? x

jackdup profile image
jackdup in reply to Hidden

FEV1, FVC, FEV1/FVC Ratio, and then it shows what part of the exhalation is the weakest and often it shows up in the small airways. but it is shown in the spirometry. I believe there may be a couple of other measures that aren't coming to mind right now.

O2Trees profile image
O2Trees in reply to Hidden

Hi coughalot, this is why i got confused before . . . a peak flow (assume you mean that when you say peak and flow) is a test for asthma not copd. It does not show FEV1 etc that Jackdup rightly says spirometry shows.

This was why i couldn't understand when we were in touch about this before why you were told you were 66% when you'd only had a peak flow test. Usually when people are told their percentage it means 66% of their predicted FEV1 as shown in their spirometry result but you say you haven't had one for five years.

Maybe there is a percentage of predicted for peak flow as well as spirometry but when ppl here use a percentage Im pretty sure they are talking about spirometry, not peak flow, and this percentage is what gives you the stage you are at (66% being moderate).

Everyone is right, you should be having a spirometry test each year.

jackdup profile image
jackdup in reply to O2Trees

Yes there is also a predicted for PEF. I have days when mine is 100% of predicted and other days when it is 60%. Mine at least varies drastically.

The usual for spirometry (as per NICE guidelines) is once a year for mild/ moderate and twice a year for severe and very severe.

Hi, spirometry should be done every year by Gp practice, maybe by the practice nurse? This fulfills the NICE clinical pathway for COPD. CT scans are done when clinically indicated as then the benefits then outweigh the risks of radiation. Hope this helps you.

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Hidden in reply to PollyP

Thanks folks. Just found this online.

How do you make a diagnosis of COPD? You should consider the diagnosis of COPD in patients

aged over 35 years who smoke or have smoked, and have appropriate chronic symptoms of

breathlessness, cough and sputum. The diagnosis is confirmed by demonstrating airflow

obstruction using spirometry. Peak flow meters, whilst excellent for monitoring asthma, are of

limited value in COPD diagnosis as the readings may underestimate the extent of lung impairment.

NICE and all international guidelines recommend the use of spirometry to confirm the diagnosis

and assess the level of severity in COPD.

Right. Wait until my next COPD check this December! x

Toci profile image
Toci in reply to Hidden

Go get 'em! xx

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Hidden in reply to Toci

:) Toci. Depending on what my nurse says re spirometry I will say I want a second opinion. I will get what I want they have been ignoring me at their peril and I won't stand for it any longer! :d x

Toci profile image
Toci in reply to Hidden

ALL COPD patients should have a spirometry test, an x-ray and should see a consultant re the diagnosis. It can then be managed by a competent GP.

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Hidden in reply to Toci

Well 1 out of 3 ain't bad! Isn't there a song like that? :d x

Toci profile image
Toci in reply to Hidden

:D :D :D

I had a spiro at gp's 2 years ago and not had another but had one 18 months ago at the hospital. I do not expect any more from my GP's as they had their noses pushed out when I proved I did have a lung condition.

Hi David1968

As other users have stated a lot will depend on the thoughts of your consultant. I have had 3 CT scans in two years with the last being a High resolution scan. Judging by what other suffers quote on here I would not class myself as being a severe sufferer as I can still walk a fair distance but do get SOB on inclines. I am still waiting for a complete diagnosis as they are keeping their eye on a nodule I have along with a number of granulomas, the latest scan is to check for Bronchiectasis, I will not know the results until next month.

With being under the hospital I am not sure if I will be included in the local GP's recall list for COPD checks.

It may be worth checking with the loical surgery to see if you should be seen by the COPD nurse for further checks.

Good luck.


DAvid, it depends on your condition, perhaps a CT scan may not be necessary.

I went in Augst to my haematologist (blood doctor). she felt under my arms and thought my glands were swollen. She sent me to have a ct scan; I was infected at the time, but nipped it in the bud with AB. Now she doesn't know whether my glands are still swollen, so she sent me for another CT scan. Some doctors are very keen. That blood doctor looks after cancer patients, so the first thing that comes in her mind is cancer, I wonder if he has it. I suppose it's better to have a doctor who wants to know ( and a patient too). You can always ask your doctor

Hi, COPD can also be caused by Alpha-1 Antitrypsin deficiency -an inherited condition and not caused by smoking etc., but am sure you are aware of that. Let us know how you get on.

Polly P

Goodmorning another bad night of coughing i don't feel my medication is working for me, i think should i go to see doctor, but i don't want to appear a moaner i just don't know what to do. I feel my symptoms are going worse and are not really being helped by my meds.

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