International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 726–733 | Cite as

Pharmacists performing quality spirometry testing: an evidence based review

  • Michael J. CawleyEmail author
  • William J. Warning
Review Article


The scope of pharmacist services for patients with pulmonary disease has primarily focused on drug related outcomes; however pharmacists have the ability to broaden the scope of clinical services by performing diagnostic testing including quality spirometry testing. Studies have demonstrated that pharmacists can perform quality spirometry testing based upon international guidelines.

Aim of the review

The primary aim of this review was to assess the published evidence of pharmacists performing quality spirometry testing based upon American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society (ATS/ERS) guidelines. In order to accomplish this, the description of evidence and type of outcome from these services were reviewed.


A literature search was conducted using five databases [PubMed (1946–January 2015), International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (1970 to January 2015), Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews] with search terms including pharmacy, spirometry, pulmonary function, asthma or COPD was conducted. Searches were limited to publications in English and reported in humans. In addition, Uniform Resource Locators and Google Scholar searches were implemented to include any additional supplemental information.


Eight studies (six prospective multi-center trials, two retrospective single center studies) were included. Pharmacists in all studies received specialized training in performing spirometry testing. Of the eight studies meeting inclusion and exclusion criteria, 8 (100 %) demonstrated acceptable repeatability of spirometry testing based upon standards set by the ATS/ERS guidelines. Acceptable repeatability of seven studies ranged from 70 to 99 % consistent with published data.


Available evidence suggests that quality spirometry testing can be performed by pharmacists. More prospective studies are needed to add to the current evidence of quality spirometry testing performed by pharmacists and to measure health outcomes of the pulmonary patient.


Literature review Pharmacist Pharmacy services Pulmonary function testing Spirometry 



The authors did not receive funding support for this project.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmacy Practice and Pharmacy Administration, Philadelphia College of PharmacyUniversity of the SciencesPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Family Medicine Residency ProgramCrozer-Keystone Center for Family HealthSpringfieldUSA

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