Information and Pre-Appointment Preparation for Your Spirometry Test




If you have been asked to arrange a Spirometry test it is important to take a few minutes to read through the following information and instructions to ensure that a reliable test is taken and an accurate diagnosis can be made.

The Test

The purpose of the test is to determine how well your lungs are working by measuring the amount of air that you are able to breathe in and out, and the total amount of air you are able to exhale in one breath.

During the test you'll be seated and a soft clip will be placed on your nose to stop air escaping from it. The tester will then explain what you need to do, and you may be asked to have a few practise attempts first.

When you are ready for the test you will be instructed to:

  • Inhale fully, so your lungs are completely filled with air
  • Close your lips tightly around the mouthpiece 
  • Exhale as quickly and forcefully as you can, making sure you empty your lungs fully

This will normally need to be repeated at least 3 times to ensure a reliable result. Sometimes, the test may need to be repeated around 15 minutes after taking some inhaled bronchodilator medicine as this can show if you have a lung condition that responds to these medicines.

Overall, your appointment should take approximately 20 to 40 minutes. You'll be able to go home soon after the tests have finished and return to your normal activities.



Before your Spirometry test please avoid:

  • Vigorous exercise 2 hours before
  • Eating a large meal 2 hours before
  • Drinking alcohol 4 hours before
  • Smoking a cigarette 24 hours before
  • Wearing tight clothing as that may restrict your breathing during the test
  • Regarding your inhalers you will receive a letter prior to your appointment with instructions of when you can use them. Please follow these instructions otherwise your results won't be reliable and we will need to rebook your appointment to have another test

Please contact the surgery if you have experienced any of the following:

  • Recent chest infection, or taken any antibiotics, in the last 6 weeks
  • Taken any oral steroids in the last 6 weeks (inhalers and ointments are fine to use)
  • Recent head, eye, chest or stomach surgery in the last 3 months
  • Attended A&E in the last 2-3 days
  • Chest pain on the day of your test
  • High blood pressure

Any of these can make carrying out the test unsafe for you, so please contact us so we can rearrange your appointment and provide it to another patient.

We will send you a checklist for you to bring along to the appointment, can you please fill out as much as you can just before your appointment starts and bring it along to the appointment. Your clinician will be able to help with any sections you aren't sure about.

We would like for you to submit 7 days' worth of blood pressure readings before your appointment so we can assess if it is appropriate to continue with the spirometry test. Please follow to link to submit these readings: Blood Pressure Review

If you find it difficult to manage without your inhaler please use it and make a note of the time. Informing the clinician, who will undertake your test, of any inhaler use will allow for more accurate interpretation of the test.

All other medication should be taken as normally directed by your doctor or nurse.

If you have had a spirometry test in the last 12 months, please contact the surgery to confirm if the test is still necessary.

If you are unable to attend your appointment please contact the surgery as soon as possible so we can offer it to another patient.

If you have any further concerns following this information please contact the surgery to discuss these concerns.