Spirometry Test

I had my first test and told I have 5.6% lung function, devastated of course and still dazed. I can't understand how one can actually blow into this spirometry when your mouth is wide open it was so big so I am blowing from the back of my throat, is this normal for everyone? It was cardboard and I live in Cyprus. Is it me but how can you blow properly if your mouth is so wide open? Is this normal.?

22 Replies

  • Hi


    The tube size is normal, first part of the test is to exhale as much air in one second, the second it to completely empty your lungs.

    Do you mean 56% lung function, indicates moderate.


  • The specialist said I had 56% lung function, he didn't mention moderate or anything, but I knew it was not good as he said it was bad. Immediately put me on long acting inhaler once a day Spiriva and also Ronenium Elpenhaler. This all started last July when I stopped smoking and have been using a reliever up to now, not every day though. In UK they said it signifies Asthma but here in Cyprus now they are saying it may be copd and asthma, so still reeling in shock......I don't want to believe them here but how does one get clarification what it is exactly when there is conflicting verdicts. I always felt when they said in UK it signifies asthma it was not definite enough.......

  • Hi

    Spirometer test is normally used to diagnose COPD which is a umbrella term for Chronic Bronchitis, Chronic Emphysema and also includes Chronic Asthma.

    Apart from Spirometer test you would normally have a chest X-Ray to eliminate any other cause.

    The treatment is normally a three inhaler theraphy.

    One long acting, one long acting with steroid, and one reliever, which you appear to be using.

    The main treatment which you have already done is to stop smoking.

    I would seak further clarification from your GP as to the actual condition.

    This would allow to adjust your life style to give you the most benefit.

    Do you have access to Pulomonary Rehabilitation, this a series of exercises and education usually two hours twice a week for six weeks.

  • Hi Kyls. A Spirometer Exam is not going to determine any kind of positive result in the long run.

    You need to have patience and ask your GP to refer you to the Hospital for a Lung function Test, that will tell you what your true status is regarding your Health.

    I have Scleroderma, Emphysema, Copd and lung fibrosis( scarring of the lungs). It is always best to find out the truth, and be always patient and live with it!

    Take care.

  • Hi Titanicus, I have been to the hospital for a lung function test, they did the spirometer test there, which I thought that is the lung function test? They also put me on a nebuliser after it and tested me again. I believe this is the reverse test they do to check how quickly you respond after a bronchilator. My nurse told me that it signifies Asthma due to my response to the bronchilator.

  • Hi Klys,

    Welcome to our site. Maybe you can fill us in more about yourself so we can be more helpful to you. Everyone on this site is here for you. Theres much knowledge and experience at your fingertips with us. Feel free to ask any questions you might have.

    again welcome,

    Rubyxx :-)

  • Thank you Ruby. I have replied today about my condition, feeling frightened and confused.

  • My Husband always used to say the same thing....how hard it was to blow into it with your mouth wide open. Yes it is normal Klys. Welcome to the site. Lots of lovely people here with plenty of information.

  • That will be old hat in the future..I take no notice of that ,I'm sure it varies on a daily basis,I do, more important things like " how do you feel it is? If you want to know anything why not ask the person,they usually know.,more than 2mins with a doc or machine .

  • Colours23 is right. Don't let one result from one test scare you. Next time you will use the same type of apparatus and so it is a comparison test. The guys from Brompton Hospital will tell you that one result from one test will tell you nothing....you need to take into account the results from the other tests that you did too but even then it is only ever a comparison against "normal, accepted tests"...everyone is different. The scariest for some folk is the lung age result which again is only a comparison. Pick yourself up, take care of your diet, get some breathing exercices on the way, every day and as much exercise as you can and then start building yourself up. You are at the cross roads...take the 2Woe is me" route and you will be a professional invalid, take the other route "I can master this" and you will have along, healthy life....it is not a death sentence.

  • Hi Klys

    I have the exact same feelings as you about the impossibility of blowing through that spirometry tube! (And I had the exact same result as you - 56%) I remember reading up about the test before I had it and practising blowing out fast. No problem, I thought. But blowing through that tube was quite different. A dreadful noise from my throat - made worse by the fact I was full of throat mucus that day. The nurse kept urging me to blow as you would blow out a candle quickly. But that was impossible!

    This was a year ago and I have to make an appointment for another one and I'm dreading it (particularly as I haven't given up smoking completely ...) I 'practised' by trying to blow through a bent over kitchen roll inner tube the other day - same result - no puff and an awful noise.

    I'm wondering if I ever blew more than 56% by that method, even when I had good, young lungs!

  • I really appreciate all this feedback from everyone, truly. I can feel the panic subsiding already and don't feel so alone now. Perhaps each test will be different, and maybe not so bad the next time. As I am now on Elpenhaler and Spiriva now and not just a reliever, can anyone say if these medicines harm you in any way? As I mentioned in my original post, I was told in Scotland it signifies Asthma, but here in Cyprus possible copd with asthma, and the extra long lasting medicine is prescribed here too, not Scotland where I just got a reliever. My chest xray in Scotland was all clear, but here they say there is a spot so should have a ct scan.

  • If you want practice with useful feedback get a peak flow meter (on prescription if you can) - same size tube as spiro. amazon.co.uk/Mini-Wrights-P...

  • Did they test you again after a few blasts of an inhaler? about 15 mins later?

  • No they didnt.

  • Many thanks, soulsaver - I have one in my 'basket' as I type!

  • OMG - my peak flow meter arrived this morning and I'm useless at it! I can't blow over 150! Now I have a headache from all that blowing and heightened anxiety! I read that asthmatics would have to go to hospital with a peak flow that low, and yet I am not breathless, don't have a cold or anything, have done my exercises today and 5 minutes on the exercise bike, my O2 sats are 97%. I seem to be just 'huffing' out the air in my mouth, rather than from my lungs - but I can't do a proper 'blow' with that tube in my mouth - same as with the spirometry test.

  • I found the mouth piece of the lung function test at the docs and the peak flow monitor unnatural in size and hard plastic - but the one done at the hospital in the chamber was soft plastic and like a rugby mouth guard and much much better.

  • Hi Klys,

    I totally agree with Colours23 & CornishBrian stay positive and do all you can to help yourself.

    7 months ago I was diag with COPD 32%, completely out of the blue - no previous asthma or anything. But will the help and support from many of the people on this site - I pulled myself together took up light exercise and built it up slowly over time - 6 months later I achieved 76% on my follow up test. So what are you going to do?

    Conquer this disease don't let it conquer you - fight it with everything you have.

    I had to go through many self slaps in the face with a cold wet flannel to get myself here and i'm not going to give in.

    Stay strong and keep posting - we are all here to help where we can.

    Kindness always

  • hi klys

    although doctor told me a couple years ago I had copd, I just had my first spirometry test 8th December when I was told I had very severe copd and emphysema with a fev1 of 18%.hard to take in and hard cope at times but it does help on here. im now just waiting for date to start pulmonary rehab.


  • I have had asthma all my life - I'm 63 now and get around very well.

    I am just finishing my first month on a new inhaler called Anoro Ellipta which after much research I find is prescribed by consultants who note that your asthma is borderline copd.

    I fell into that category and to be honest I have not felt better for years. Anoro once a day and Carbocisteine is marveloous.

    Apparently some GPs resist prescribing Anoro but I was precribed by a consultant at the chest clinic.

    Ask for it!


  • I was just like you full of fear,and bringing up that much mucus i could not go any where but once they got my inhalers right i feel so much better.i had a lot of support from the lovely people on this site and you will too. Thinking of you xx

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