Breathing Out: Forced Exhalation, Airflow Limitation

  • James A. StockleyEmail author
  • Brendan G. Cooper
Part of the Respiratory Medicine book series (RM)


The concept of measuring expired lung volumes to assess lung function has existed since the late seventeenth century. Spirometry in its current form is a versatile and informative assessment of pulmonary ventilation that does not require highly specialised equipment, making it the most common and accessible lung function test.

Although spirometry is effort-dependent and can be a physically demanding test (particularly for patients with severe lung disease), the majority of individuals can achieve technically acceptable and repeatable results with the correct coaching from appropriately trained operators. In isolation, spirometry cannot diagnose specific pathology (with the exception of asthma), but, instead, it can identify patterns of ventilatory impairment. However, it remains the mainstay of physiological assessment and a primary outcome for disease management and clinical trials.


Spirometry Ventilation Obstruction Restriction Therapy assessment 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lung Function and Sleep DepartmentQueen Elizabeth Hospital BirminghamBirminghamUK

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