Aims: To assess the quality of primary care spirometry by visual inspection of the flow-volume expiratory curve and to study the quantity of clinical information provided on the spirometry report sheets.
Methods: Retrospective audit of 868 expiratory flow-volume curves referred to three pulmonary clinics assessed against five predefined quality criteria. Clinical information included on the spirometry report sheets was also collected.
Results: Quality was good in 78% of pre-bronchodilation curves and in 80% of post-bronchodilation curves. Obtaining a sharp PEF value and full vital capacity exhalation seemed to be the critical points of measurement. Inter-rater reliability of the curve assessment was mainly good. Data on where the spirometry took place, and comments on the use of respiratory medication and patient co-operation were often lacking.
Conclusions: The quality of primary care spirometry was good. Adequate clinical information on the report sheets would further improve the quality of this diagnostic process.