Spirometry is a common and effective diagnostic test for lung conditions. You will be asked to take in a big breath, and then blow as hard and long as you can into a machine. The machine measures how much air you can blow out from your lungs and how fast you can blow it out.

Who should have Spirometry done?

  • People with asthma (Spirometry is an important diagnostic and management tool for people with asthma. If you have asthma and never had a spirometry test, please talk to your doctor about spirometry)
  • Smokers and former smokers
  • Some doctors may request you have Spirometry testing prior to surgery

Please read the following instructions prior to your spirometry appointment or testing may have to be rebooked.


  • Avoid a heavy meal 2 hours prior to test
  • Avoid smoking 4 hours before a test
  • Avoid vigorous exercise 1 hour before a test
  • Avoid alcohol 4 hours prior to test
  • Avoid wearing clothing that restricts the chest and abdomen
  • Do not wear fragranced products (perfume, cologne, shower gels etc.)

Due to testing purposes, please withhold from using the following medications prior to testing:


With hold these Medications

Short Acting (Rescue) Bronchodilator Inhalers

  • Ventolin (Salbutamol)
  • Bricanyl (Turbuhaler)
  • Airomir (Salbutamol)
  • Atrovent (Ipratropium)
  • Combivent (Ipratropium/Salbutamol)

4 hours prior to testing
Long Acting Bronchodilator Inhalers

  • Oxeze (Formoterol)
  • Serevent (Salmeterol)
  • Foradil (Formoterol)
  • Onbrez (Indacaterol)
  • Incruse (Umeclidinium)
  • Seebri (Glycopyrronium)
  • Spiriva (Tiotropium)
  • Tudorza (Aclidinium)
  • Anoro (Umeclidinium/Vilanterol)
  • Duaklir (Aclidinium/Formoterol)
  • Inspiolto (Tiotropium/Olodaterol)
  • Ultibro (Indacaterol/Glycopyrronium)
12 hours prior to testing

Combination Medications

  • Advair (Salmeterol/Fluticasone)
  • Breo (Fluticasone/Vilanterol)
  • Symbicort (Budesonide/Formoterol)
  • Zenhale (Mometasone/Formoterol)
12 hours prior to testing

Oral Medications

  • Theophylline
12 hours prior to testing
Take as usual

Inhaled Steroids

  • Alvesco (Ciclesonide)
  • Arnuity (Fluticasone Furoate)
  • Asmanex (Mometasone)
  • Flovent (Fluticasone)
  • Pulmicort (Budesonide)
  • QVAR (Beclomethasone)

What is COPD

COPD means Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. COPD is the new name for two major breathing diseases that cause airways to become “obstructed” or blocked: Obstructive chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Obstructive chronic bronchitis: When airways are constantly attacked by pollutants, such as those found in cigarette smoke, they become inflamed and filled with thick, sticky mucous. You cough to clear your airways. Later, the bronchi may become obstructed or with limited airflow: lungs do not fully empty and air is trapped.

Emphysema: Your bronchial tubes branch into smaller and smaller tubes, which end in millions of tiny air sacs called alveoli. The exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place in the alveoli. When your alveoli are damaged or destroyed, it becomes difficult for the lungs to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide and less oxygen gets into your body. Your lungs do not fully empty and air is trapped.

These diseases often occur together but they can also occur separately.


is a common condition that’s anything but simple. Symptoms vary widely from person to person and from situation to situation. Still, there’s a lot that’s known about asthma, and you’ll find much of it here. Every year, about 250 Canadians die from asthma. Most of these deaths, however, could have been prevented with proper education and management.

The goal of this section is to provide you with the latest knowledge. After all, the more you know about asthma, the better you can control it. With all the information you’ll find here – no matter what kind of symptoms you experience, no matter how long you’ve had asthma – you’ll soon be able to enjoy life to the fullest.