Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes swelling in the airways due to specific triggers such as dust mites, viruses, pollens, etc. It makes breathing harder for patients because of the inflammation and swelling in their airways.
Spirometry is an extremely useful tool in asthma diagnosis and management because asthma significantly affects the patient's breathing and lung capacity.
The role of spirometry in asthma diagnosis
Administering a spirometry test is not a necessity to provide an asthma diagnosis, but a demonstration of airway obstruction and it being reversed following the use of a bronchodilator is recommended to confirm the clinical diagnosis (a greater than 12% and 200 ml increase in FEV1). If the FEV1/FVC ratio is reduced, this indicates a limitation in the airflow, in which case the patient may be given the bronchodilator and made to repeat the spirometry test to confirm.
Asthma management & spirometry
For mild to severe cases of asthma, constant monitoring may be required to monitor the lung capacity and have the opportunity to be warned of possible asthma attacks.
Due to the fact that exposure to triggers may not be controllable or always easily apparent, home spirometry provides greater insight into the state of the patient's lungs and airways. This way, any changes in lung capacity may be easily and quickly addressed and treated.
Another point in which spirometry tests prove to be useful in asthma management is measuring the efficacy of the treatment. By administering a spirometry test before and after the patient is given asthma medication, the healthcare teams can monitor how well the patient is responding to the medication and can react accordingly.
- “Asthma”, Mayo Clinic, 2020.
- "Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention", Global Inıitiative for Asthma, 2014.
- "Clinical application of spirometry in asthma: Why, when and how often?", Lung India, 2015.
- "Spirometry and bronchodilator responsiveness testing", Asthma + Lunf UK, 2020.
- "Spirometry for Asthma", American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 2014.