This presentation is intended to be a basic introduction to the principles of spirometry. It will also touch briefly on the interpretation of the values obtained.

The presentation is not intended to be definitive or a substitute for a formal course in pulmonary function testing. For more detail, the learner is directed to several good textbooks and textbook chapters. There are also a number of short videos on that serve to demonstrate spirometry.


Upon successful completion of this presentation, the learner will be able to:

  • Define the basic lung volumes and capacities
  • Describe how the test is performed and the values obtained
  • Describe basic qualities assurance measures to ensure the accuracy of the results
  • State the significance of the data, especially for COPD and asthma
  • Given a set of spirometry data, provide a basic interpretation

Using This Presentation

Click on each lesson in the table of contents

Authored by William A. French. Medically reviewed by Dr. Barbara Erickson, PhD, RN, CCRN.

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