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Forced Expiratory Volume and Forced Vital Capacity
Forced expiratory volume (FEV) measures how much air a person can exhale during a forced breath. The amount of air exhaled may be measured during the first (FEV1), second (FEV2), and/or third seconds (FEV3) of the forced breath.
Forced vital capacity (FVC) is the total amount of air exhaled during the FEV test.
Forced expiratory volume and forced vital capacity are lung function tests that are measured during spirometry. Forced expiratory volume is the most important measurement of lung function. It is used to:
- Diagnose obstructive lung diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A person who has asthma or COPD has a lower FEV1 result than a healthy person.
- See how well medicines used to improve breathing are working.
- Determine if lung disease is getting worse. Decreases in the FEV1 value may indicate the lung disease is getting worse.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Robert L. Cowie, MB, FCP(SA), MD, MSc, MFOM - Pulmonology|
|Last Revised||November 22, 2010|
|By:||Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: November 22, 2010|
|Medical Review:||E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine|
Robert L. Cowie, MB, FCP(SA), MD, MSc, MFOM - Pulmonology
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