British Lung Foundation
36,499 members43,714 posts

Spirometry vs CT Scan

Hi All from my tropical island. Been raining the past few days so have not needed the a/c.

I did pose a question in my last blog, but was probably lost amongst the rants about my specialist.

I did a spirometry test 6 months ago which gave a reading of 72%, however as i am a gagger i could not fit the mouthpiece into my mouth so my test was not 100% conclusive.

I am due to have a CT scan this Friday and wanted to know which is most accurate, CT Scan or Spirometry?

Merv

33 Replies
oldestnewest

I'd imagine it would be the CT Scan mate

1 like
Reply

Thanks gary

Reply

I think it's the ct scan. Stands to reason really. That would give a more detailed

picture of the state of your lungs. Good luck with the scan on Friday

1 like
Reply

Thanks Jessy

Merv

Reply

Ct SCAN merv :)

good luck friday

regards jimmy

Reply

Thanks Jimmy

Merv

Reply

ct with regards to copd is more specific for emphysema. Ct may not detect the effect of chronic bronchitis in mild cases as it may be small airways that are effected.

2 likes
Reply

It all depends exactly what they are looking for. And the skill of the radiologist. Spirometry is very good at detecting obstructive disease. There a lots of different way of doing CT: if you have a dye injected into a vein in your arm that will be to look at the blood vessels in your lungs. A High Resolution CT might be taken at full inspiration and full, forced expiration, and that will be looking the differing patterns and intensities of lung tissue, and that will be to detect air-trapping or vascular disease. So... lots of options, I'm afraid. The answer is that the two tests, spirometry and CT, are looking at different things. But all knowledge is good.

If it is a radiologist who is doing it you may get the results straightaway, more likely it will be done by a radiographer, so the report will go to the consultant who requested it. Have you an appointment with your consultant?

All the best for Friday.

K xx

2 likes
Reply

Hi Katinka,

The CT scan is to see what damage has been done with bronchitis or even if i have it.

I should receive the test results in about 2 hours as the scan is being done at the hospital and that is where my pulmonologist is based.

Merv

1 like
Reply

Hi the C.T scan will show if you have any disease in your lungs and how much you have and the Spirometry test shows how much lung function you have in other words hoe much air you can blow out or exhale.So really you need both tests to get a proper picture of hoe things are.I hope I've explained it okay.

3 likes
Reply

Hi SusanneH. I had a spirrometry test done in March, which showed as 72%, mild. But the test was not conclusive as i could not put the tube directly into my mouth as i am a gagger....i have to be sedated when i see the dentist.

Dr. Thinks he will get a better idea of my condition with a CT scan.

Will see what the results show on Friday.

Merv

Reply

Hiya Merv

You need both for a good diagnosis - Spiro will tell them about degree of obstruction/function - it doesn't tell them for sure what's the cause. HRCT will show whether it's Bonchitis, Emps, Bronchiectasis, Cancer etc... and extent (or an inhaled object even!). If you've been a smoker it's usual (60%) they'll find nodules and if they're small, they'll do it again in 6 months to detect any changes; if no change they'll the monitor it yearly for 3 years (UK).

90% of the time they are benign.

Good luck.

Reply

Thanks.

Merv

Reply

Oooooo,,,,,I would guess it would be the scan ,,,,,best wishes

Reply

Thanks Nanny, just hoping for a good result.

Reply

Hi Merv,I would say the CT scan will give more information.It was after a CT they told me my Copd was actually emphysema.It,s a bit like the difference between the doctor listening to your chest or having an X Ray.?D.

Reply

Thanks. Seems to be the consensus of opinion.

Reply

Good luck with the scan xx

1 like
Reply

Cat scan as per my answer to yr last post. Good luck. P

Reply

Thanks. Seems to be the consensus of opinion.

1 like
Reply

CT scan x

Reply

Thanks. Seems to be the consensus of opinion.

Reply

The CT scan will show a very accurate picture of your lungs and will show if you have any lung disease. It will not tell you what your lungs can do.

The spirometry test will show you what your lungs can do and a lot more than that. If I were you I would have both tests done. Speak to your doctor about the gag reflex. There may be a solution.

Reply

Doc says that if i can't do the spirometry test properly then the CT scan will give him a better idea. I don't know why they have to make the breathing tube so big, half the size and i would be able to do it.

What i am questioning is whether i have bronchitis or not, if not then i am not copd. Apparently the Dr. Can tell from the CT scan.

I know i have Asthma, but i have no cough, mucus or phlegm.

Merv

Reply

I'm not understanding this too well. Doesn't bronchitis come with mucus on the lungs? This is what gives it the wet bronchitis cough. A cough without that wet sound is a dry cough. The absence of both dry cough and wet cough doesn't sound like COPD to me.

Also people can have bronchitis without it being COPD.

Reply

Dr. Was explaining to me that there are 2 kinds of bronchitis. One which shows as cough, mucus etc, the other has no cough but damages the lungs, hence the CT scan to see if there is any damage.

Merv

Reply

Maybe she meant bronchiectasis and chronic bronchitis. Both as far as I know involve a cough.

Reply

Simply put the C.T. can show what you have in your chest and the sprometry gives a measure of how well you can use it. Complimentary tests.

1 like
Reply

Doc says that if i can't do the spirometry test properly then the CT scan will give him a better idea. I don't know why they have to make the breathing tube so big, half the size and i would be able to do it.

What i am questioning is whether i have bronchitis or not, if not then i am not copd. Apparently the Dr. Can tell from the CT scan.

I know i have Asthma, but i have no cough, mucus or phlegm.

Merv

1 like
Reply

Good luck for Friday and hope you get good news x

Reply

Thanks

Reply

I know I’m responding to an old post but I’m reading everyone’s response and the overwhelming consensus seems to be CT Scan but I’m always one to question everything. After my CT Scan I was diagnosed by not 1 but 2 Radiologists with “mild” Emphysema yet when I presented my CT scan disks to two highly rated experienced Pulmonologists they concluded that it was in fact NOT Emphysema but rather Small airways obstruction which is not as prevalent or as understood as Emphysema . Pulmonologists and not Radiologists are lung experts and it’s not the CT Scan vs PFT argument it’s the interpretation of the elements. As I understand it Small Airway Disease is regarded as preliminary Emphysema or as some diagnosis state as “pre Emphysema. All medicine although a science is still subjective as well as the specialists . So, the idea that CT Scan is more conclusive than PFT is not set in stone . Just like an old beat up car can still run as smoothly as a newer model even though it’s diagnostics are saying otherwise

Reply

The practicality here is treatment .Both Emphysema and Small Airway disease are both progressive and the best treatment is smoking cessation but in the case of SAD long term steroid inhalers may not be advisable so the correct diagnosis especially via Combination of CT and PFT is equally important and one does not supersede the other

Reply

You may also like...