What are contraindications to spirometry in pulmonary function testing?

Updated: May 14, 2020
  • Author: Kevin McCarthy, RPFT; Chief Editor: Nader Kamangar, MD, FACP, FCCP, FCCM  more...
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Answer

Answer

Relative contraindications (no absolute contraindications) for spirometry are as follows:

  • Conditions that may be negatively impacted by the increases in myocardial demand or changes in blood pressure associated with spirometry: These include recent (< 1 week) myocardial infarction, systemic hypotension or severe hypertension, significant atrial/ventricular arrhythmia, noncompensated heart failure, uncontrolled pulmonary hypertension, acute cor pulmonale, clinically unstable pulmonary embolism, and a history of syncope associated with forced exhalation.

  • Conditions that may be negatively impacted by the increase in intracranial/intraocular pressure associated with spirometry: These include cerebral aneurysm, recent (< 4 weeks) brain surgery, recent concussion with continuing symptoms, and recent (within 1 week) eye surgery.

  • Conditions that may be negatively impacted by increased sinus and middle ear pressures: Examples include recent (< 1 week) sinus or middle ear surgery or infections.

  • Conditions that may be negatively impacted by increased intrathoracic and intraabdominal pressures: Examples include the presence of pneumothorax, recent (< 4 weeks) thoracic or abdominal surgery, and late-term pregnancy.

  • Infection control issues, including active or suspected transmissible respiratory or systemic infections including tuberculosis, or physical conditions predisposing to transmission of infections such as hemoptysis, significant secretions or oral lesions or bleeding


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