Signal Processing for Computerized Spirometry

  • Reed M. Gardner
  • David V. Ostler
  • Robert O. Crapo


Spirometry is one of the most important and frequently used diagnostic tests of pulmonary function. It is performed with relatively simple instruments and involves straightforward techniques. In 1846 Hutchinson described the first spirometer and established reference or “normal” values for test populations’. The Hutchinson device was a counterweighted water seal spirometer which measured only the vital capacity. Volume was measured on a graduate scale at the side of the instrument, temperature was also measured so that corrections for ambient conditions could be made. It was not until the late 1940’s and early 1950’s that the timed vital capacity, now known as the forced vital capacity maneuver (FVC), came into general use 2,3. At that time the water seal spirometer was still the most popular device, although it had dynamic response limitations. Stead and Wells4 outlined these limitations and their investigations eventually led to the development of the Stead-Wells spirometer5 Other devices developed and marketed since that time include the wedge spirometer, the rolling seal spirometer, the bellows spirometer, and a variety of flow measuring devices which use pneumotachometers. Each of these instruments has a characteristic to recommend it such as small size, low cost, operating convenience, etc.


Forced Vital Capacity American Thoracic Society Shaft Encoder American Thoracic Society Criterion Flow Measuring Device 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reed M. Gardner
    • 1
  • David V. Ostler
    • 1
  • Robert O. Crapo
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Medical Biophysics and Computing and MedicineUniversity of Utah/LDS HospitalUSA

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