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Supine VC

A simple test performed lying down to measure lung capacity

The vital capacity (VC) of your lungs is best tested in a lying-down (supine) position

About

If you’re experiencing breathing or lung-related issues, such as a persistent cough, asthma or breathlessness, you may be asked to carry out this simple test to measure your lung capacity.

Supine VC breathing tests are often particularly recommended to test the strength of your diaphragm.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    Your lungs take in the maximum amount of air they can when you’re lying down in a relaxed position on your back. This is because your diaphragm can move more freely than when standing up or sitting down. This quick and simple test to record the total amount of air that you can breathe out will be performed while you’re lying comfortably. You’ll be asked to breathe in and then out fully. The amount of air you breathe will be measured using an instrument called a spirometer. To be sure of an accurate reading you may be asked to repeat the test a couple of times.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Before your test, your consultant will explain everything you need to know and answer any questions you may have. You may be asked to avoid certain things beforehand, such as smoking, caffeine, heavy meals, specific medications, or vigorous exercise. Your consultant will advise exactly what’s relevant to you so that you can come prepared.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    After the test, your consultant will explain the results and answer any questions you may have. Depending on your circumstances, you may be asked to return for other vital lung capacity tests so your consultant can monitor your progress and see if your condition has improved.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

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

Our facilities

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

  • Wellington-south-hero-facility-582-582

    The Wellington Hospital

    Wellington Place

    London NW8 9LE

    Appointments 0207 483 5148
    Enquiries 020 3131 7478

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

  • The Lister Hospital Facility

    The Lister Hospital

    Chelsea Bridge Road

    London

    SW1W 8RH

    Appointments 020 7811 4000
    Enquiries 020 3131 4978

  • Wellington-south-hero-facility-582-582

    The Wellington Hospital

    Wellington Place

    London NW8 9LE

    Appointments 0207 483 5148
    Enquiries 020 3131 7478

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

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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