Benefits of and barriers to the widespread use of spirometry

Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2005 Mar;11(2):115-20. doi: 10.1097/01.mcp.0000150948.13034.78.


Purpose of review: To review the basis for spirometry, its benefits in diagnosing and managing both acute and chronic pulmonary disorders with emphasis on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and to critically examine the barriers to its widespread use.

Recent findings: A number of recent articles have established the scientific basis for spirometry in the early identification of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and in improving smoking cessation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Economic and other considerations are reported.

Summary: Spirometry is an important office diagnostic device that should be used by all primary care and most specialist physicians. Spirometry is to dyspnea as the electrocardiogram is to chest pain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Education, Medical / methods
  • Health Education / organization & administration
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Professional Practice / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods
  • Spirometry / economics
  • Spirometry / instrumentation
  • Spirometry / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States