Spirometry is the most common type of pulmonary function testing.
Spirometry is used to measure how fast an individual can move air in and out of their lungs and determines whether that person’s lung capacity falls within a normal range based on their age, weight, sex, race, and smoking status.
Many provincial workplace safety organizations state that worker lung health is the responsibility of the employer.
SureHire recommends that companies with workers exposed to airborne particulates implement an annual lung health program which consists of spirometry, chest X-rays, fitness-to-wear (a respirator questionnaire), and mask fit testing.
This program will allow employers to manage airborne hazards and promote early identification and intervention.
Employers that implement a pre-employment lung health program are able to independently record baseline values of workers with pre-existing conditions.
Who should do spirometry testing?
Spirometry tests provide important information for workers who are exposed to airborne particulates in the workplace.
Many workplace substances can cause breathing problems or lung damage. For example:
- Dust from wood, cotton, coal, asbestos, silica, talc, cereal grains, coffee, pesticides, drug or enzyme powders, metals, and fiberglass.
- Fumes from metals that are heated and cooled quickly. These fumes occur in welding, smelting, furnace work, pottery making, plastics manufacturing, and rubber operations.
- Smoke from burning organic materials. For instance, firefighters are at an increased risk of lung damage from smoke.
- Gases such as formaldehyde, ammonia, chlorine, sulfur dioxide, ozone and nitrogen oxides. These gases occur in welding, brazing, smelting, oven drying, and furnace work.
- Vapors, which are a form of gas given off by all liquids.
- Mists or sprays from paints, lacquers (such as varnish), hair spray, pesticides, cleaning products, acids, oils, and solvents (such as turpentine).
Workers exposed to these substances should submit to annual spirometry testing in order to monitor their lung health.
You will first be required to present some form of government-issued photo identification when you come in for your appointment.
Once your ID is verified, you will receive paperwork to fill out. This paperwork includes an authorization allowing SureHire to perform the test and provide the results to your employer/potential employer. If you are coming in for a private test, the form will have a spot where you can indicate where you would like the results to be sent. You will also have a short form to fill out indicating your contact information and any prescription or over-the-counter drugs that you are currently using.
Once your paperwork is submitted, you must not leave the testing facility until testing is complete. If you choose to leave the testing facility, it will be indicated as a refusal to test and considered a fail.
How to Prepare
- Bring your government-issued photo ID (driver’s license, passport, military ID, etc.)
- Do not smoke for one hour before the test
- Do not drink alcohol within four hours of the test
- Do not eat a large meal within two hours of the test
- Wear loose clothing
- Do not perform vigorous exercise within 30 minutes of the test
- If you are on puffer medications, you may be asked to refrain from taking them for a few hours before spirometry. Ask your doctor (or the centre performing the test) beforehand if this applies to you.
- You will need to fill out a form with required information (Name, Age, Height, Weight, Sex, Smoke Ind. & Ethnicity)
- You will be informed you will be performing a Spirometry test. The tester will explain what the test is about.
- The test will be performed while you are in a standing position. A chair will be placed behind you in case you become light-headed.
- The tester assisting you will demonstrate what you will need to do to perform the Spirometry test.
- Once the test has be performed and at least two acceptable tests have occurred you will be finished.
Schedule of Acceptable Identification
OPTION 1 – ACCEPTABLE GOVERNMENT ISSUED PHOTO ID (1 PIECE) (EXPIRED ID IS NOT ACCEPTABLE)
- Valid permanent driver’s licence issued in Canada or the United States of America, as permitted to be used for identification purposes under provincial law.
- Valid passport issued by the government of residing country.
- Certificate of Indian Status issued by the Government of Canada.
- A document or card, bearing the individual’s photograph and signature, issued by any of the following authorities:
-Insurance Corporation of British Columbia
-Saskatchewan Government Insurance
-Department of Service Nova Scotia, Department of Transportation, Province of Prince Edward Island
-Service New Brunswick, Department of Government Service, Province of Newfoundland and Labrador
-Department of Transportation of the Northwest Territories, Department of Community Government and Transportation of the Territory of Nunavut
- Firearms licence or military ID
- Homeless Aid Centre photo identification
- Correctional Centre photo identification
Please note: photos or photocopies of ID will NOT be accepted.
OPTION 2 – 2 PIECES OF NON-PHOTO ID AND 1 PIECE OF NON-GOVERNMENTPHOTO ID
- ACCEPTABLE NON-PHOTO ID (2 PIECES)
-Employee photo identity card, issued by an employer that is well-known in the community.
-Certificate of Canadian Citizenship or a Certification of Naturalization, in the form of a paper document or card, but not a commemorative issue.
-A provincial health insurance card, as permitted to be used for identification purposes under provincial law.
-Social Insurance Number card issued by the Government of Canada (note: printable SIN cards will not be accepted).
-Birth certificate issued in Canada.
-Interim Driver’s License.
- ACCEPTABLE NON-GOVERNMENT PHOTO ID (1 PIECE) (MUST CONTAIN FIRST & LAST NAME AND PHOTO)
-Employee ID card – from a reputable company within the community
-Oil Sands ID card
-Student ID card – from a reputable educational institution within the community
-Costco ID card
OPTION 3 – MANAGEMENT ID
- If no ID is available, the tester will call your employer and speak to their DER. If the manager gives the tester a satisfactory physical description of the client or confirmation of personal information, the testing can proceed.
- Management ID: 3 contact attempts within 30 minutes. If the tester cannot obtain management ID, online bookings will be advised that the client does not have sufficient ID to continue with testing. You will need to contact your company to re-book the appointment.
OPTION 4 – OPTION FOR OCCUPATIONAL & NON-OCCUPATIONAL
- If no ID is available, the client must get a notarized letter with a photo attached to the actual letter. Any lawyer, doctor, pastor or other notary can provide this.
What is a Spirometry Test?
A spirometry test is a component of a pulmonary function test. A spirometer is used to measure how much air the lungs can hold and how well the respiratory system is able to move air into and out of the lungs.
Since spirometry is based on a maximal forced exhalation, the accuracy of its results are highly dependent on the patient’s understanding, cooperation, and best efforts. Spirometry differs from peak flow, readings in which spirometry records the entire forced breathing capacity against time, and peak flow records the largest breathing flow that can be sustained for 10 milliseconds.
Factors related to spirometry testing include sex, height, weight, ethnicity, race, age, smoking status, and whether the person suffers from asthma or other respiratory conditions.
What happens if my results are abnormal?
- If results are below acceptable percentages and QC grade is D or F, we will perform another test maneuver.
- If the client has a chest cold, asthma, or has difficulty achieving an A, B or C reading after at least 5 complete trials, testing will be stopped.
- A minimum of 3 maneuvers must be performed. The maximum number of maneuvers that can be safely performed is 5.
- No matter what the results or QC grade are after you complete the maximum 5 maneuvers, the tester will stop testing and print the results.
I had a cold recently. Should I still complete the testing?
If you have had pneumonia, bronchitis, influenza or a severe cold in the past three weeks, you should postpone testing for a later day. Contact the bookings department to reschedule testing.
Are there risks associated with doing this type of test?
A spirometry is a very low-risk test. However, blowing air out of your lungs with great force can increase the pressure in your chest, abdomen, and eyes. You may be advised not to have spirometry if you:
- Have unstable angina.
- Have had a recent pneumothorax (air trapped between the outside of the lung and the chest wall, often incorrectly called a punctured lung).
- Have had a recent heart attack or stroke.
- Have had recent eye or abdominal surgery.
- Have coughed up blood recently and the cause is not known.
Click Here if you would like to learn more about risks associated with completing a spirometery test.
Will somebody be explaining the results of my Spirometry Test?
Spirometry measures your lung function through different breathing measurements. Some of the most common measurements include:
Forced Vital Capacity (FVC) – The largest amount of air that you can blow out after you take your biggest breath in.
Forced Expiratory Volume (FEV1) – The amount of air you can blow out of your lungs in the first second.
FEV1/FVC – The amount of air you can force out of your lungs in the first second compared to your total lung volume.
Anyone with abnormal results should follow up with a physician or pulmonologist for further testing. Spirometry is a screening test that identifies if your lung function is normal or abnormal. However, it is not a diagnostic test, and reasons for why your results are abnormal will not be identified by this test.