Safer spirometry testing during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Association for Respiratory Technology and Physiology (ARTP) estimates that around 20,000 spirometry tests are usually performed per month in the UK1. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the services provided by GP practices, including spirometry testing, were halted due to the risk of infection for both staff and patients.

There are currently many challenges faced by respiratory clinicians, in providing tests for patients in need of an accurate respiratory diagnosis and follow-up treatment, including those directly affected by COVID-19. Keeping spirometry testing services on hold is obviously not a long-term option, so how can spirometry services be restored and delivered safely?

The demand for lung function testing is expected to increase significantly over the coming months and years. In addition to the huge backlog of spirometry tests in the short term, it is likely that more tests will be needed to determine the presence and nature of lung damage that has occurred in a growing number of COVID-19 patients.

Updated ARTP guidance (August 2020)

The recent ARTP guidance update2 provides practical advice on how to reduce the current spirometry test backlog. It highlights several innovations currently being trialled, including in-car spirometry testing and diagnostic hubs.

Why is SpiroConnect so well suited to spirometry testing during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The SpiroConnect spirometer is the most accurate and simple to use wireless PC based spirometer currently available. It is fully integrated with the EMIS, SystmOne and Vision clinical systems through Numed’s unique I3 Integration software.

SpiroConnect is ideally suited to in-car spirometry, spirometry hubs and post-COVID clinics, due to its Bluetooth connectivity. The device can connect to a desktop, laptop or tablet computer through glass or one or more plastic safety screens, at a range of up to 20 metres. Because of this unique feature, full spirometry tests can be performed with the patient seated in isolation from the respiratory nurse/technician. This can either be in their own car (with window completely closed), an isolated room/booth, or behind a safety screen. This helps spirometry clinics and hubs to deliver spirometry testing with high levels of safety. 

Other safety points worth noting: 

  • Numed’s viral/bacterial spirometry filters can be used with SpiroConnect, giving 99.99% viral/bacterial filtration at a flow rate of 750 litres/min (well in excess of that stipulated by the European Respiratory Society).
  • The SpiroConnect turbine can be very quickly and easily disinfected/sterilised between patients in a solution of PeraSafe (this takes just 10 minutes).
  • Anti-viral/bacterial wipes (e.g. Clinell) can be used to quickly disinfect/sterilise the body of the SpiroConnect spirometer before use on the next patient.
  • Rental options are available for SpiroConnect, starting from £35 ex. VAT per month per device.

More Information

For more information about using the SpiroConnect spirometer to help restore your spirometry service, please visit our dedicated SpiroConnect product page, email or call our sales team on 0114 2433896.


1 ARTP, Respiratory Function Testing During Endemic COVID-19 (May 2020)

2 ARTP, Practical guidance for increasing Lung Function and Sleep activity during COVID-19 (Aug 2020)