Indications for spirometry

Spirometry will support a diagnosis of lung disease or a condition which impairs the action of a healthy lung, such as a neuromuscular or musculoskeletal disease. However, as with the majority of lung function tests, spirometry is not pathognomonic of any particular disease.

1. Baseline – to investigate lung function where a diagnosis has yet to be established

2. Monitoring – trend data will highlight deterioration, improvement or seasonal variability in a patients lung function

3. Bronchodilation – spirometry can be used to express a response to bronchodilator therapy or to potentially distinguish between COPD and asthma

Spirometry is generally requested by a clinician once they have taken the patients history and performed a physical examination. Blood tests and an x-ray of the chest may also be requested. To interpret the results confidently you should have a differential diagnosis or pre-test probability available.

Spirometry will ultimately support a diagnosis of the following groups:




bronchiolitis obliterans

cystic fibrosis

Pulmonary fibrosis

Cardiac disease

Granulamatous disease

Muscle weakness disorders

Skeletal disorders


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