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A spirometer is an apparatus for measuring the volume of air inspired and expired by the lungs.

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The spirometer was originally invented in the 1840s by John Hutchinson an English surgeon. The volume of exhaled air from fully inflated lungs could accurately be measured by exhaling into a tube leading into the bucket. Helped in the measurement of vital capacity.

In 1950 Dr. Tifffeneau of France introduced the forced measurement of air volume during a given time frame, i.e; forced expiratory volume in 1 second, FEV1.

Wright B.M. and McKerrow C.B. introduced the peak flow meter in 1959.

In 2008, Advance Medical Engineering developed the world's first wireless spirometer with 3D Tilt-Sensing for far greater quality control in the testing environment.


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Spirometry is the best way of detecting the presence of airway obstruction and making a definitive diagnosis of asthma and COPD. In COPD its uses are

  • Measure airflow obstruction to help make a definitive diagnosis of COPD.
  • Confirm presence of airway obstruction.
  • Assess severity of airflow obstruction in COPD.
  • Detect airflow obstruction in smokers who may have few or no symptoms.
  • Monito disease progression in COPD.
  • Assess one aspect of response to therapy.
  • Assess prognosis (FEV1) in COPD.
  • Perform pre-operative assessment.
Lung Volumes and Capacities
  • Tidal volume: That volume of air moved into or out of the lungs during quiet breathing
  • Inspiratory reserve volume: The maximal volume that can be inhaled from the end-inspiratory level
  • Inspiratory Capacity: The sum of IRV and TV
  • Expiratory reserve volume: The maximal volume of air that can be exhaled from the end-expiratory position
  • Vital Capacity: The volume of air breathed out after the deepest inhalation.
  • Total lung capacity: The volume in the lungs at maximal inflation, the sum of VC and RV
  • Residual volume: The volume of air remaining in the lungs after a maximal exhalation
  • Breath in until the lungs are full
  • Hold the breath and seal the lips tightly around a clean mouthpiece
  • Blast the air out as forcibly and fast as possible. Provide lots of encouragement!
  • Continue blowing until the lungs feel empty
  • Watch the patient during the blow to assure the lips are sealed around the mouthpiece
  • Check to determine if an adequate trace has been achieved
  • Repeat the procedure at least twice more until ideally 3 readings with in 100 ml or 5% of each other are obtained
Diseases Associated With Airflow Obstruction
  • COPD
  • Asthma
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Post- Tuberculosis
  • Lung cancer (greater risk in COPD)
  • Obliterative Bronchiolitis