Spirometry in primary care

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An evaluation of lung function is an essential part of the diagnosis and management of respiratory disease but spirometry was, until recently, rarely available in primary care. The emphasis in national chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma guidelines on spirometry for diagnosis and monitoring, together with its inclusion in the quality and outcomes framework (QOF) for COPD in the General Medical Services contract, has led to its wider availability in this setting. Spirometry is a relatively easy test, but is unreliable and confusing if not performed and interpreted correctly.

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