There is much information material about medical topics aimed at laymen that quite often and mistakenly puts greater emphasis on a specific organ, without effectively explaining the complex connection with the rest of the human body. The most often mentioned representatives are the brain, heart, and lungs, which are affected by several diseases that require timely diagnosis and treatment.
As oxygen is one of the basic requirements for life, it makes sense to emphasise the importance of proper pulmonary function for supporting life. However, as is the case with virtually any other organ in the human body, there are many conditions and risk factors that threaten that. The most significant is of course tobacco smoking.
Despite many awareness campaigns and a multitude of well-defined research into the health risks of tobacco consumption, there are still many active smokers worldwide (an estimated 1.1 billion in 2015) . Their numbers are fortunately declining, but very slowly, leaving many at significantly greater risk of lung and other types of cancer, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and generally decreased pulmonary function [1, 2, 3, 4].
Smoking cessation or abstention is an effective way of preventing or largely reducing most of its harmful effects [5, 6, 7]. But smoking-related pulmonary conditions are not the only diseases affecting the respiratory system or the most serious ones as there are many more of them.
A common chronic inflammatory respiratory condition for example is asthma, which affected 358 million individuals in 2015 and manifests as shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest . Extremely similar or virtually identical symptoms can be observed in those with acute bronchitis, which is a very common condition [9, 10, 11], but some cases of bronchitis may progress to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that has a significantly worse prognosis .
Some of those symptoms, like tightness in the chest, may also be indicative of possible cardiovascular issues, like coronary artery disease (CAD) or even myocardial infarction (MI). Discomfort located in the chest is, of course, not the only typical symptom of CAD, the deadliest of CVDs, accounting for 9.43 million deaths in 2016 alone [13, 14]. But how can one differentiate between them and respiratory issues?
One of the answers is, of course, spirometry, the most common of pulmonary function tests (PFTs) and one that is increasingly used in general practice, at least for preliminary diagnosis. Spirometry is suitable for diagnosing and assessing the severity of asthma, differentiating between obstructive and restrictive lung diseases, identifying individuals at risk of pulmonary barotrauma and for simply following the natural history of disease in respiratory conditions [15, 16, 17]. Like many other non-invasive diagnostic methods, spirometry is generally safe, although forced expiratory exercises that are part of the procedure may trigger some pre-existing conditions. Many of them are rarely noticeable at the time of potential spirometry testing; however, they are most likely recorded in the patient’s medical records. Easy, fast, and traceable transfer and sharing of physical medical records without losing or misplacing them is wishful thinking at best, while the same cannot be said for electronic health records (EHRs), which have numerous other benefits [19, 20, 21, 22]. They become even more useful if they can be viewed on the diagnostic device itself.
MESI mTABLET SPIRO
The diagnostic device for spirometry is the appropriately named spirometer, of which there are many different types, from simple ones to large, complex devices designed for comprehensive assessment of pulmonary issues. The MESI mTABLET SPIRO is one such example as it utilises advanced diagnostic technology that eliminates the need for traditional calibration. Advanced inner workings are further mirrored in the handy size of the diagnostic unit, which supports all the standard measurements, is battery powered and wirelessly connected to the main diagnostic unit – the MESI mTABLET. Its integrated EHR management and sharing system, called MESI mRECORDS, enables automatic entry of spirometry results in the patient’s EHR, easy browsing and seamless sharing of data and spirometry results with other healthcare professionals, even if they are not users of the MESI mTABLET.
Spirometry is an essential diagnostic method and should be available at every general practitioner’s office. There are many different types of spirometers available, but none as versatile and easy to use as the MESI mTABLET SPIRO, which can be easily upgraded to perform several diagnostic tests, giving the physician a tool for comprehensive assessment of a patient’s overall health beyond just diagnosing possible pulmonary issues.