What is Spirometry?

Spirometry is a test used to measure the amount of air you can breathe out from your lungs and how fast you can blow it out. It is used to diagnose and monitor certain lung conditions e.g. Asthma and COPD.

At Middlewood, we offer Spirometry appointments at Priorslegh Medical Centre in Poynton, Bollington Medical Centre and The School House Surgery in Disley. The length of your appointment is dependent on the type of Spirometry test being performed, but most appointments are between 20-40 minutes.

What happens during the test?

You will be asked to sit comfortably and breathe into a machine. You may have a clip put on your nose to make sure all the air goes into the mouthpiece. You will be shown how to blow into the Spirometer before starting. You will be first asked to breathe in deeply and then breathe out gently into the machine, expelling all the air out of your lungs, until no more air comes out.  You will then be asked to breathe in again deeply and then this time breathe out as fast and as hard as you can until your lungs are empty. You will be asked to perform each part of the test at least 3 times.

What is Bronchodilator Reversibility Testing?

Bronchodilator reversibility testing is done to see if your lung function gets better with medication, and if so, by how much. In this case, the Spirometry test is done twice: before and after breathing in some medication (Salbutamol). If you are performing the bronchodilator reversibility test, your health care professional will ask you to breathe in some inhaled medication via a spacer, wait for 20 minutes and then repeat the test.

Your results:

The healthcare professional carrying out the test won’t usually be able to give you your results immediately. They will send the results to the clinician who requested the test who will then follow these up with you.


How should I prepare for the test?

– Please avoid eating a substantial meal within 2 hours of your appointment.
– Please avoid vigorous exercise 30 minutes before your appointment.
– Please avoid smoking for 24 hours before your appointment.
– Please do not consume any alcohol on the day of your appointment.
– Wear loose, comfortable clothing and avoid wearing any restrictive clothing e.g., ties or tight belts.
– Please arrive for your appointment in plenty of time so that you can relax, please also empty your bladder immediately before your appointment.

We also ask you to avoid certain inhalers before the appointment:

Avoid up to 4 Hours before: (however, if you do need to take your reliever inhaler, please do so, but inform the nurse performing the Spirometry test):

  • Salbutamol (Ventolin, Salamol, Airomir, Salbulin, AirSalb)
  • Terbutaline (Bricanyl)

Avoid up to 12 Hours before: (however, if you do need to take your reliever inhaler, please do so, but inform the nurse performing the Spirometry test):

  • Ipratropium Bromide (Atrovent)

Avoid inhalers containing the following up to 24 Hours before:

  • Salmeterol (Seretide, Sirdupla, Combisal, AirFluSal, Sereflo, Serevent, Neovent, Soltel, Vertine, Aloflute, FusaComb, Stalpex)
  • Formoterol (Fostair, Luforbec, Symbicort, DuoResp, Flutiform, Oxis, Foradil, Atimos, Fobumix)
  • Vilanterol (Relvar Ellipta)
  • Indacaterol (Onbrez Breezhaler)
  • Olodaterol (Striverdi Respimat)

Avoid inhalers containing the following up to 36 Hours before:

  • Aclidinium Bromide (Duaklir Genuair, Eklira Genuair)
  • Glycopyronium Bromide (Trimbow, Bevespi, Ultibro Breezhaler, Seebri Breezhaler)
  • Tiotropium Bromide (Spiriva, Braltus, Spiolto Respimat, Tiogiva)
  • Umeclidinium Bromide (Incruse Ellipta, Anoro Ellipta and Trelegy Ellipta)

Avoid the following oral medications for up to 36 Hours before:

  • Montelukast
  • Theophylline (Uniphyllin)

Continue taking:

Inhaled Corticosteroids (Clenil, Soprobec, QVAR, Kelhale, Pulmicort, Alvesco, Flixotide, Budesonide, Beclometasone)


Can everyone have Spirometry?

Spirometry is suitable for most adults and children over the age of five. However, there are a few reasons why you may not be able to have Spirometry which your healthcare professional will go through with you before performing the test:

  • Unstable Angina – Angina – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
  • Abdominal, Thoracic or Cerebral Aneurysms
  • If you are in your Second or Third Trimester of Pregnancy
  • If you have coughed up blood which has not been investigated.
  • Untreated or uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Currently have an ear infection


If you have had any of the following conditions in the last 3 months, you may still have the Spirometry test, but you will need to wait for 3 months:

  • Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)
  • Stroke
  • Pulmonary Embolus (Blood clot on the lung)
  • Surgical Operations: Eye Surgery, Abdominal Surgery or Lung Surgery
  • Pneumothorax (Collapsed Lung)
  • Ruptured Ear Drum


You will need to wait 6 weeks after having any antibiotics or steroids prior to having the Spirometry test. Please contact the surgery to rearrange your appointment should you have a chest infection requiring antibiotics or steroids in the 6 weeks before your appointment.

If you have any questions, please contact the GP Surgery to request a call back from one of the Respiratory Team prior to your appointment.