The key to accurate and meaningful spirometry readings is through approved training in the techniques and interpretation of spirometry. The importance of training cannot be over-emphasized.

Respiratory technicians in hospitals will usually have a university degree and then undergo a year's specific training in respiratory physiological measurement and interpretation. In the UK, the Association for Respiratory Technology and Physiology (ARTP) set standards for training, examination and quality control. Criteria for the recommended performance of lung function measurement and equipment specification are set out by the American Thoracic Society [5,6] and European Respiratory Society [7].

In the UK, the ARTP, in conjunction with the British Thoracic Society (BTS), has developed a certificate in spirometry with accredited training, course work and examination, which is available to doctors and nurses in primary care or hospital staff. Training and knowledge in primary care are generally poor and inadequate.

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