Reversibility assessment

A reversibility assessment is a test to see if your breathing problems improve with the help of an inhaler or medication.


A reversibility assessment is often a part of a spirometry test, which is a test to see how well your lungs are working.

Both tests can help you to find out if you have a breathing problem, such as asthma.

Need to know

  • What happens during the reversibility assessment? icon plus

    Our respiratory physiologists will start by asking you to carry out a baseline spirometry. This involves breathing in and out of a spirometer, a special instrument that measures how much air you can push out your lungs in one breath.

    They will then ask you to breathe in increasing doses of a dry powder. After each dose, you will be asked to repeat the spirometry so we can assess any changes. If your airway is normal, then it won't react to the powder. If you have hyper-sensitive airways (such as in asthma), then the powder will affect the airways and we'll see a change in your spirometry results during the test. A reversibility assessment lasts about 30 minutes in a lung function consultation room.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    A spirometry and reversibility assessment doesn't require any special preparation beforehand. Your GP or consultant respiratory therapist will explain what's involved and answer any questions you might have.
  • After your assessment icon plus

    Your GP or respiratory physiologist will explain the results of the test immediately after it. You'll also be able to go home straight after.

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We're proud to work with leading respiratory specialists across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

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From complex thoracic surgery to diagnostic tests and procedures, we provide exceptional respiratory care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Book an appointment

Our team can help with any enquiries or you can make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

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020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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