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A spirometry test will show you how healthy your lungs are. It can help find out if you have a lung condition. 

If you are already receiving treatment the test will show if the treatment is helping your lungs to work well.

During the test, you will be asked to blow into a device called a spirometer. This will measure how much air you can blow out. The test is not painful and usually takes less than 10 minutes.

When holding the spirometer, you must:

  • Sit up straight, breathe in as deeply as you can and place your lips tightly around the mouthpiece.
  • Try your hardest to blast out your air as quickly as possible.
  • Keep blowing out until your lungs are empty and your healthcare worker tells you to stop.

A Healthcare worker will show you how to blow into the spirometer and help you throughout the test. It is important you put in as much effort as you can so your results are accurate. You will be asked to blow three or more times.

Your healthcare worker will use your results to decide how well your lungs are working. They will let you know the results of your test.

You should take the test if: 

  • You smoke or you used to smoke
  • You live with someone who smokes
  • You breathe in dust or fumes
  • You cough a lot
  • You get short winded when you walk fast
  • You are worried about your lungs
  • You are already getting treatment for your lungs


Download this information as a PDF here.

Taking a spirometry (big blow) test

Big blow test (female)

Big blow test (male)

We would like to acknowledge and thank the Respiratory Medicine Department at the Royal Perth Hospital for creating these Strong Wulyan (Strong Lungs) demo lung function videos and allowing us to share them.

We would also like to acknowledge the work done by the European Respiratory Society (ERS) and the European Lung Foundation (ELF). This information resource has been adapted from the Healthy Lungs for Life project developed by ELF and ERS.

The European Lung Foundation (ELF) was founded by the European Respiratory Society (ERS), with the aim of bringing together patients, the public and respiratory professionals to positively influence respiratory medicine. ELF is dedicated to lung health throughout Europe, and draws together the leading European medical experts to provide patient information and raise public awareness about lung disease.