Spirometry (Breathing Test) Specialist

Dean K. Otaka, MD

Family Medicine located in Aiea, HI

If you have a lung-related condition, such as asthma, emphysema, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it’s important to understand whether your lungs work as well as they should. Family medicine specialist Dean Otaka, MD, provides a test called spirometry to quickly and painlessly check the health of your lungs. This information is especially useful if you’re undergoing lung treatment. To find out if you’d benefit from spirometry, call or book a consultation online with his office in the Aiea area of Honolulu.

Spirometry Q & A

What is spirometry?

Spirometry is a common diagnostic test that assesses how well your lungs work. The test measures how quickly you exhale, how much air you inhale, and how much air you exhale.

Spirometry is often used to diagnose a variety of conditions affecting your breathing. If you’re being treated for a chronic lung condition, this test also tells Dr. Otaka whether the treatment is helping you breathe better.

Why do I need spirometry?

Dr. Otaka generally recommends a spirometry test if he suspects you have a chronic lung problem. Some of the conditions where you might benefit from spirometry include:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Pulmonary fibrosis

Spirometry also assesses whether you have a job-related lung disorder. Dr. Otaka sometimes recommends spirometry before surgery to make sure your lungs are strong enough to safely withstand an operation.

What should I expect during a spirometry test?

A spirometry test involves breathing into a tube for a short period of time. Here are the typical steps:

  • Dr. Otaka places a clip on your nose to keep it closed
  • You take a deep breath, then exhale as hard as you can into a tube for several seconds
  • You typically need to repeat the test three times to make sure your results are relatively consistent

The entire process takes fewer than 15 minutes.

What do spirometry test results mean?

Spirometry measurements help Dr. Otaka understand how well your lungs work by measuring capacity and volume. The results tell him about your:

  • Forced expiratory volume (FEV): This is the amount of air you can blast out of your lungs when exhaling for one second. If your reading is lower than normal, it’s a red flag for a blocked lung.
  • Forced vital capacity (FVC): This is the most air that you can forcefully expel from your lungs after taking as deep a breath as possible. A measurement that’s lower than normal shows your breathing isn’t at full capacity.

If you have a lung-related condition and need testing to better understand your problem, call or schedule a consultation online with Dean Otaka, MD.