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What Is Spirometry?


Updated April 26, 2009

What Is Spirometry?
Photo © CDC
Question: What Is Spirometry?
Answer: Spirometry is a basic and commonly performed pulmonary function test. It measures your lung's capacity to move air in and out of the lungs. The test is performed using a spirometer and must conform to standardization specifications developed by the American Thoracic Society.

An individual breathes in and forcefully exhales through a mouthpiece. One's specific measurements are compared to measurements healthy people of the same race, age, gender, height and weight.


Clinical Pulmonary Function Testing, Exercise Testing, and Disability Evaluation. In Chest Medicine: Essentials Of Pulmonary And Critical Care Medicine. Editors: Ronald B. George, Richard W. Light, Richard A. Matthay, Michael A. Matthay. May 2005, 5th edition.

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