Lung Function Test in Covid times

Lung function tests are the widely used tests performed in respiratory clinics all over world to differentiate types of lung diseases. It’s used for diagnostic as well as prognostic purposes. Being an aerosol generating procedure it was stopped in almost all respiratory clinics with the onset of Covid 19 disease. The other procedure routinely used previously which got hit is nebulization.

Both these procedures are so indispensable that doctors want to start them as early as possible, still are scared to do so because of associated risk factors. A consensus is yet to be reached on how and when to start them.

Nebulisation has other alternatives like MDI with spacer.

To do spirometry is a tricky situation for doctors.

  1. A doctor needs to wear complete PPE.
  2. PPE for helping staffs.
  3. Isolated/designated place for spirometry with restricted access to others.
  4. Use mouth pieces with bio filters only.
  5. Sanitise the spirometer machine, key boards, computer after every use.
  6. Use separate moth piece for delivering Broncho-dilators with spacer.
  7. Sanitise your spacer after each use.
  8. Per-screen your patients for suspected corona infection by taking fever, travel history, contact history, place of residence. Don’t do the procedure if slightest of doubt.
  9. Take help of alternative investigations like chest x-ray, blood investigations, auscultation, detailed clinical history and your clinical acumen. Avoid doing the spirometry whenever possible for time being.
  10. Most of the respiratory physicians are able to reach a working clinical diagnosis without spirometry, but they will need it to perform in coming future. So start adapting the new way of life with new normals.
Spirometry mouth pieces with filter
Spirometry mouth piece with filter

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