Spirometry going forward – should we restart?
It has been advised that spirometry should restart. Chris Loveridge explains how she has adapted her practice as we move towards the new normal
Spirometry is a test of lung function which confirms or refutes a respiratory diagnosis. It gives a pattern of airflow from numerical interpretation, which alongside clinical history gives a diagnosis. With this objective test comes responsibility; as with any diagnosis, there are implications for the person receiving it.
COVID-19 bought a halt to lung function testing and the advice from various professional bodies meant that spirometry was ceased as it was deemed to be an aerosol generating procedure (AGP). It was the potential for cough during the procedure that caused it to be high risk and it was therefore added to the list of procedures that should not be undertaken (European Respiratory Society, 2021). The latest statement to restart spirometry originates from a larger Task and Finish Group and replaced the original ARTP statement (Association for Respiratory Technology and Physiology (ARTP) and British Thoracic Society (BTS), 2020). NHS England and Improvement guidance specifically provides advice on the safety of performing spirometry, during the COVID-19 ‘endemic phase’. The statement is applicable to spirometry performed in both primary and secondary care settings and is underpinned by further COVID-19 information, developed by the ARTP, BTS and other international organisations.
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