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Performing spirometry in primary care

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Spirometry is the recommended lung function test for the diagnosis and monitoring of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This short clip shows how to perform spirometry with a patient in primary care. 

The video covers: 

Checklist of steps

Open circuit method

  1. Sit upright in a chair with legs uncrossed and feet flat on the ground
  2. Breathe in completely and rapidly
  3. Pause for less than 1 second
  4. Place mouthpiece in mouth and close lips to form a good seal
  5. Blast air out as fast and as far as possible until completely empty, or until unable to blow any longer
  6. Breathe in completely and rapidly again
  7. Remove mouthpiece

Closed circuit method

  1. Sit upright in a chair with legs uncrossed and feet flat on the ground
  2. Place mouthpiece in mouth and close lips to form a good seal
  3. Breathe normally for 2-3 breaths
  4. Breathe in completely and rapidly
  5. Pause for less than 1 second
  6. Blast air out as fast and as far as possible until completely empty, or until unable to blow any longer
  7. Remove mouthpiece

Remember

Spirometry training

All health professionals conducting spirometry should be appropriately trained. The National Asthma Council Australia offers free spirometry training workshops for GPs and practice nurses across Australia.

Find out more about our training workshops

More information

This clip provides a brief overview of correct technique for performing spirometry in primary care. It is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to performing and interpreting spirometry.

For more detailed information see our comprehensive section on Spirometry.

Acknowledgements

This resource was developed in consultation with Ms Judi Wicking, asthma and respiratory educator, who appears in the film clip. Thanks also to Ms Joan Raven for participating in the clip.

Supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Novartis Australia.

The National Asthma Council Australia retained editorial control.