n South African Medical Journal - Guideline for office spirometry in adults, 2012 : guideline

Volume 103, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Office spirometry remains an integral part of a comprehensive respiratory evaluation and is used to categorise the nature, severity and progression of respiratory diseases and to measure response to treatment. These updated guidelines are aimed at improving the quality, standardisation and usefulness of office spirometry in South Africa.

All equipment should have proof of validation regarding resolution and the system's linearity (consistency). Moreover, equipment must be calibrated daily and quality controlled. It is also important to have standard operating procedures in place, including the documentation of ambient conditions and infection control measures.
Adequate spirometry relies on a competent operator, accurate equipment, standardised operating procedures, quality control and patient co-operation. The indication for spirometry in a particular patient should be unambiguous and should be documented. Subjects should be appropriately prepared for testing, and patient details must be documented. Forced vital capacity (FVC) manoeuvres (either closed or open circuit) must be performed strictly according to guidelines, and strict quality assurance methods should be in place, including acceptability criteria (for any given effort) and repeatability (between efforts). Testing should continue until at least 3 acceptable curves are produced (with 2 fulfilling repeatability criteria). Other indices are derived from these efforts.
Test results must be categorised and graded according to current guidelines, taking into account the indication for the test and the appropriateness of reference values.

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