Carlos Vaca, MD
Internal Medicine Physicians & Critical Care Medicine Specialists located in Miami, FL
When you develop shortness of breath or wheezing, chances are pulmonary spirometry will be the first lung function test you’ll receive. Carlos Vaca, MD, has extensive experience performing spirometry, determining the overall health of your lungs, and developing customized treatment to improve your breathing and prevent severe flare-ups. If you struggle with respiratory problems, call the office in Miami or schedule an appointment online.
What is pulmonary spirometry?
Spirometry is one of many different tests performed to measure the health of your lungs. These are a few examples of pulmonary function tests:
- Spirometry: measures the amount of air you inhale and exhale
- Lung volume tests: measure how much air your lungs can hold
- Lung diffusion capacity: determines how well oxygen gets into your blood
- Pulse oximetry: measures the amount of oxygen in your blood
- Arterial blood gas test: measures the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood
Dr. Vaca may perform one or more of these tests to determine the course of your treatment. However, spirometry is usually the first test done to diagnose lung conditions.
When might I need pulmonary spirometry?
Dr. Vaca may recommend a spirometry test when your symptoms and physical examination suggest you have a chronic lung condition such as:
- Chronic bronchitis
- Pulmonary fibrosis
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a general term that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. If you have any of these conditions, you’ll experience symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.
Patients already diagnosed with a lung condition undergo regular pulmonary spirometry to assess their lung health and be sure their medications are working.
Dr. Vaca also performs spirometry for patients who have surgery scheduled to be sure their lung function is adequate for their operation.
How is pulmonary spirometry performed?
Spirometry assesses two key measurements:
- Forced vital capacity (FVC): the largest amount of air you can forcefully exhale
- Forced expiratory volume (FEV): the amount of air you can force from your lungs in one second
When you take the test, Dr. Vaca places a clip on your nose to ensure you only breathe through your mouth. Then you’ll take a deep breathe, pulling as much air into your lungs as possible, and breathe out as hard as you can for several seconds. You’ll breathe into a tube that’s part of the spirometer, a device that measures the amount of air you can breathe in and out.
Dr. Vaca may ask you to take the test at least three times to be sure your results are consistent. When you’re finished, your results show the severity of your breathing problems.
If you need expert care for breathing problems, call Carlos Vaca, MD, or schedule an appointment online.