Spirometry / lung testing routine

The spirometry routine is similar to that used in audiometry, takes about 15 minutes from start to finish and has several distinct steps.

Spirometry (lung health) questionnaire

The first job is the pre-test lung health questionnaire which gives us some critical information on both the individual's relevant health history which may impact their spirometry result, along with some other critical information such as weight and height. Weight and height are particularly important as the Body Mass Index (BMI) calculared from this is used to give the predicted range of results which we will then score the employee against.

One favour please: if you are booking a series of lung function tests for some or all of your employees, could you warn them that we will need to know their height and weight. While most people know their height, from experience it seems very few know their weight!

The main factors we ask about are:

  • Smoking history - if never smoked, an ex-smoker or a current smoker
  • Height and weight
  • Any history of coughing or wheezing
  • Any history of chest problems

Smokers must not smoke for at least one hour before coming for the lung test or they will fail, panic and then need another ciggie to calm down.

The Spirometry test itself

Once we've been through the spirometry health questionnaire we get them to do the lung function test itself, which involves them standing and blowing as sharply and as long as they can into the spirometer and for that we need at least three good blows.

Spirometry results

We print the result immediately, explain what it means to the attendee and give them a copy of their result to take away. ( More detail on interpreting the results here). We then create an employer's report, summarising the data and highlighting any individuals who may need further attenting, either for a further examination or for an assessment of their working routine to ensure they are not at risk.

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