Reversibility Testing/ Bronchodilator Response

This test is used to evaluate your airways response to a Bronchodilator. For this test, you will be asked to do spirometry as described in Spirometry Test.

Test Duration:


Approximately 45 minutes


Test Preparation:



You may generally continue with your normal routine. However, there are some points to note to improve comfort and ensure accurate results:

  • Refrain from smoking for as long as possible before the test
  • Avoid tight clothing
  • Avoid a heavy meal 2 hours before the test
  • Do not drink alcohol for at least 4 hours before the test
  • Avoid vigorous exercise for a few hours before the test
  • If you use an inhaler please bring it with you


Follow your doctor's instructions about whether you should avoid use of inhaled breathing medications or other medications before the test.

If it is your first time attending the Respiratory Department for a Lung Function Test do not take the following medication before the test:

  • Salbutamol (Ventolin, Salamol) or Brycanil for at least 4 hours
  • Atrovent or Combivent for at least 8 hours
  • Symbicort, Serevent, Seretide for 12 hours
  • Spiriva (Tiotropium) for 24 hours.

Please take all other drugs as prescribed.

Test Procedure:



After a baseline Spirometry test the Respiratory Physiologist will give you a medicine by inhaler and Volumatic Spacer which may open up the airways.

The spirometry test is then repeated 15 minutes afterwards. The aim of this is to see if your airways open wider with medication or not.

Your doctor then can compare the results of the two measurements to see whether the bronchodilator improved your airflow.

Risks Involved:



Spirometry with Reversibility Test is generally a safe test. You may feel short of breath or dizzy for a moment after you perform the test. Because the test requires some exertion, it isn't performed if you've had a recent heart attack or some other heart conditions. Rarely, the test triggers severe breathing problems.

If you have any of the following please call us to discuss:

  • Unstable angina
  • A recent pneumothorax (air trapped beneath the chest wall)
  • A recent heart attack or stroke
  • Recent eye or abdominal surgery
  • Coughed up blood recently and the cause is not known

Patient Information

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