To identify practical problems when carrying out spirometry.
To provide a short ‘pathway’ to assess spirometry results.
To provide a standard operational procedure to carry out spirometry from current guidelines.
Summary ‘Spirometry is a simple test of lung function’. How often have we heard that statement? Does this come to mind when trying to get an 80-yr-old, ill, somewhat confused patient to follow instructions and perform an acceptable, reproducible test in our department? NO. Of course, there is more to spirometry than the patient being able to follow instructions, but that is another issue. Let's start with the basics. Three things impact on good test results: 1) the operator (be it a technician, scientist, nurse, physiotherapist or doctor); 2) the equipment (in this case a spirometer (desktop or handheld) or hospital department lung function equipment); and 3) the patient (who can be young, interested and co-operative, or elderly, ill and non-cooperative, or somewhere in between). All three can impact in a positive or negative way on your test results; therefore, it is important to optimise the working of each one to rule out problems.