When I do a spirometry test, there is a powerful rattling fluttering feeling in my chest, it hurts for days, and I sometimes wind up sick for months. My several doctors don’t agree about what is going on or what to do about it, and are encouraging me to hunt for more information about this. Where can I find out more? I’m not asking for advice – I am FOLLOWING doctor’s advice, by seeking more information!
Background - spirometry is a kind of pulmonary function test that measures the ability to move air into and out of the lungs. You hold a big hose connected to a measurement instrument, take the biggest breath possible, and blow as hard as possible into the hose for a few seconds. Typically you have to do this three times, more if something goes wrong.
My problem is this deep rattling fluttering feeling during the forceful exhalation. It feels to me like it’s under my sternum, and the sensation is similar to a barking cough. Not only that, but the resulting measured flow curve looks horrible – what should be a quick rise to a maximum value and a long fairly straight decline to zero, instead looks like the back of a stegosaurus, with enormous noise. I posted a printout from a three-exhalation series here:
and a blown up detail of the curve in that same image here:
My problem is, further, that not only does this hurt while I am doing it, it leaves me really sore inside. It kind of instantly gives me a case of bronchitis. If I am lucky, it will pass within a week. If not, I will have an acute case of bronchitis for as long as six months, with on-and-off infections, steroids and codeine. My history is 25+ years of chronic bronchitis following workplace chemical exposure.
I’m being treated by two pulmonologists (one local, and one several hours away who wrote the book on chemical exposure) who cooperate with one another, and also an ENT, and an allergist, and a company physician (as this was a Worker Comp case). Of course each doctor has multiple respiratory technicians and other people administering the test.
Opinions vary - it’s coughing, it’s premature glottic closure, it’s variable effort (as if I could modulate my diaphragm at 5 Hz!), it’s my soft palate (which I would know and which is irrelevant as my nose is clipped anyway!), and so on. I have not found any graphs online that are nearly this bad, but the closest ones reference coughing and glottic closure.
If anybody can point me in the way of better information, I’d be MOST appreciative! Thanks!