What you can expect

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Multimedia

When you go to take your test:

  • The nurse or technician will give you specific instructions about how to take the test. Listen carefully and make sure you know exactly what to do. Doing the test incorrectly will cause inaccurate results.
  • A clip will be placed on your nose to keep your nostrils closed.
  • The nurse or technician will have you take a deep breath and breathe out as hard as you can for several seconds into a tube that's attached to a machine (spirometer). You may feel short of breath or dizzy for a moment after you perform the test.
  • You'll need to take the test at least three times to make sure your results are accurate and consistent.

If your doctor gives you an inhaled medication to open your lungs (bronchodilator) after your initial test, you'll need to wait 15 minutes and then you'll have another set of measurements done. That way your doctor can compare the results of the two measurements, to see whether the bronchodilator improved your airflow. Each set of measurements usually takes less than 15 minutes to complete.

Jul. 09, 2011