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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What does a spirometry detect?

Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Shashi Dangwal

Pulmonologist

Practicing since :1979

Answered : 1126 Questions

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Posted on Sat, 17 Sep 2016 in Lung and Chest disorders
Question: I was diagnosed as having moderate grade 2 copd,back in XXXXXXX at the time of the spirometry I had,i had a raging chest infection,i could barely breathe at the time.The nurse said there was obstruction.The Dr diagnosed me the next day.I feel fine now,no shortness of breath or coughing.Can the Dr tell from the spirometry results,what type of obstruction,ie COPD or chest infection.I am going for another lft on Monday.I am hoping it was just the infection,it was a really bad one and took me ages to get over it.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Shashi Dangwal 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
It`s not possible to tell a infection by spirometry values.

Detailed Answer:

Hello Dear,

Thanks for posting your query on HCM.

The spirometry only tells about the type of airways defect. Usually they are of obstructive or restrictive type. In COPD, it`s generally obstructive type.

No its not possible to tell infection by spirometry. In fact spirometry is not done for infection. But yes during a bout of infection, the spirometry values can be very low and may improve as the infection subsides.

So go ahead and get your spirometry done. I`m sure the results will come out better.

Kind Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Shashi Dangwal 59 minutes later
I read somewhere that a spirometry can show that an obstruction is caused by COPD and that respiratory infection normally doesn't affect the same parts infection does.Ive got the lft on Monday,im worried sick.Does it show on the graphs whether its COPD ? Thank you.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Shashi Dangwal 11 hours later
Brief Answer:
In COPD, you get obstructive pattern in spirometry test

Detailed Answer:

As I told you, in COPD the pattern is like obstruction but same cannot be said for infection. Infection can affect any part of respiratory system-both airways and lung parenchyma.

Infection is a broad term and can affect any part of the body. When it affects respiratory system, its called respiratory infection.

You should not mix COPD and infection. Infection can also occur in a patient of COPD thus worsening the symptoms COPD.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Veerisetty Shyamkumar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Shashi Dangwal 2 hours later
So can respiratory infection cause obstruction like COPD ?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Shashi Dangwal 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Infection can worsen COPD symptoms

Detailed Answer:

Infection can worsen COPD symptoms so the spirometry values will be lower be it obstruction or restriction. You cannot say that infection is causing obstruction.

You should not try and analyse the spirometry report as you will not understand it.Obstruction is only a pattern of COPD graph and values, nothing more than that. It`s importance is for treating physician.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Veerisetty Shyamkumar
doctor
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