British Lung Foundation
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I am a smoker in the process of quitting. I went for a pft and the results were fev1 90,4 and fev1/fvc 89,2

I thaugt this was bad and therfore went to another doctor, the results was fev1 80% and fev1/fvc 77%.

This made me more worried so I went again. The last time i felt really anxious during the test. The nurse made me blow a lot of times because the result varied too much. The worst result was fev1 88% and fev1/fvc 66%. So she gave me an inhaler and i blow three more times, this time all efforts were mostly the same, fev1 95% and fev1/fvc 76%. The doctor said this was normal and sign of no disease. My problem is i dont know what to believe. I am scared my lungs are too damaged, this fear eats me up and make me smoke even more. Does anyone know why the results are so unlike. Can anxiety be the reason?

Hope someone will answer!!

16 Replies

Hello sakko :)

I suppose your anxiety could affect the spirometry test results, it may be a bit like 'white coat syndrome'. My blood pressure readings are always high at my gp's surgery, but pretty much ok when the Community Matron pays me a visit at home.

Like you, I'm still a smoker *slaps wrist* but making a real effort to give up. Do ring the BLF helpline, discuss your fears with them and take up any useful suggestions they have to offer. Try your best to relax with some deep breathing exercises, they works wonders for anxiety :) You can find lots of these exercises on YouTube.

I've not been much help to you I'm afraid, but I do hope you manage to conquer your fear.


does that mean i do not have copd?


I know, the problem is thar he said i was fine, but my numbers scares me and i can't believe him..


Your numbers are good.


When I had a spirometry test in my local health centre I was told I had normal results. However, when I had the full range of cardio-pulmonary function tests in hospital I had abnormal results, both at rest and on exercise. My tests did not show COPD, but rather points towards a restrictive lung disease and I am still undergoing investigations.

The pulmonary function tests you are given in hospital are much more involved and I do think you get a more accurate answer. In my case I had constant blood pressure monitoring, bloods taken from my ear to check oxygen levels, numerous types of breathing exercise, both inside and outside a sealed booth,a finger pulse oximeter and I was also tested while using an exercise bike, and afterwards.

I was referred for these tests by a respiratory consultant. However, as well as having chronic breathlessness and cough I had had an x-ray which indicated that I have pulmonary oedema (fluid in the lungs).

If you're still worried, or if you are having symptoms, you could always ask to see a Consultant, or even if you could have a chest x-ray to see if there's anything untoward there. (I'm presuming you haven't had one).


Thanks Stitch:)

Just realised...I should have said I was referred for the tests by a cardiologist. It was after getting the results that I was referred to the respiratory consultant.

Oops, fuzzy brain here tonight!


Hi All

Everybody is trying to help with what experience they have if we learn from each other


Time to relax and stop worrying. yOU DO NOT HAVE COPD. My wife thank god quit smoking yesterday. And as my FEV1 is only 28%, it can vary and has been as low as 25%, decided to test my wife as I have the machine to do so. It was relief to see here FEV1 at 83% and amazingly her PEFR at 100%. She like you despite many years of smoking is fine and has normal lung health. I do understand the numbers and you have no worry at all my friend. I would though quite the weed or else you may one day join us copd'ers.


I am confused and a bit in a panic from trying my new spirometer - and wonder how you know the percentage FEV1 ? does the score the machine shows mean the amount of breath or the percentage of normal ? hope you can explain, thanks.


I've been reading these answers with interest as I don't understand the numbers either. I had a spiroemtry test a month and a half ago and although at the time I didn't take any notice of numbers I was shown the results in graph like form for both tests. As I say I don't understand the numbers so I can't say what my original readings were but after I was tried on a inhaler I was shown that on the first test I had 5% improvement and on the second test I had 20% improvement. I was told that this improvement was significant and indeed I could see the difference it made. A week later I saw my Dr and was told I had mild COPD. A week after that I went to see her again to ask questions about it and was told my COPD is very mild and then I was also informed I had developed Asthma too.

1 like

Hi All

Good news your wife has stopped smoking derrylynne you will be able to support her while stopping her joining the copd'ers because you have the experience of where it leads

Best Wishes Robert


hi all

I dont understand the numbers either.

end of last year i was poorly, kept getting breathless,,chest infection and before christmas i had pleurisy.

3 weeks after antibiotics my breathing was getting worse and i was completely done in,

went back to the doctor early january,which i ended up getting a xray to see what was going on,

To be honest when i went back for results i expected to hear nothing to see all is ok.

But the doctor put the computer screen round to show me which said COPD,, i didnt take it in and she said i had lung disease.

silly me i said.. OH,, in the left lung? as thats the one i was getting most pain in with the pleurisy..

She said.... No Kay,,, BOTH lungs.

If i hadnt had the xray,, to be honest i would never have known.

So good the doctor done one... but not so good the result,,lol.

But folks.... i am scottish and fight, and have my humour to keep me going,,,xxxx


If doctor understands the numbers then all we have to do is be patients give the problem to the people trained to look after us

Kind Regards Ethel


I have a piko 1 spirometer and have found it very good and quite accurate. Like most it gives FEV1 but not percentage, which is what most are looking for. The one I have also has PEFR. First you will need to work out your height in Centimetres. Then go to - enter your height in Cm, then your Fev. For instance it might be 1.04. FVC you don't have with the piko so just put in 3.5 or something like that, it don't matter as far as what we want to know. The put in your PEFR reading. Make sure you have entered your age, and if you are male or femail. Then press calculate to get your percentage. Nice and easy. Oh and don't forget to bookmark the link:-) To add your FEV1 percentage will vary a little

from day to day. And if you are ill it will almost certainly be lower. Good luck and happy readings:-)


hi derrylynne..what is PEFR reading has i dont have this on my results sheet


I am not a Dr so cant say with regard to your FEV results ,apart from mine are pretty grim below 30 ..But I can honesty say I really didn't want to stop smoking I really enjoyed a ciggy and I did only have 2/3 a day nor did my friend but 4 years ago after a spell in hospital with an infrection be both decided we had no choice ,and we were saying yesterday we will never smoke again it really smells horrid and I used to smell like that and just didn't smell it .my home looks cleaner ,I can wear cloths more than one day and my hair smells fresh and clean ,really it's not that I a non smoker and hate smoking but I really now cant cope with smoky air my lungs are now only 20% working but I really cant believe just how foul the smell is if you can just stop one cig at a time I bet in just a few days you too will smell it too I do really miss enjoying having a ciggy but no best of luck it really is the way to go


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