Small airways obstruction syndrome

Chest. 1999 Jul;116(1):231-3. doi: 10.1378/chest.116.1.231.


Study objectives: To clarify the significance of a functional lung pattern characterized by a decreased vital capacity (VC) and an increased residual volume (RV), but with a normal FEV1/VC ratio.

Setting: A university teaching hospital.

Subjects: Patients with bronchial asthma, pulmonary emphysema, and small airways disease, and older subjects.

Measurements: Measurements of static and dynamic lung volumes, diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (as measured by the single-breath method), nitrogen slope of the alveolar plateau, and closing volume (as measured by the single-breath O2 test).

Conclusion: A functional pattern characterized by a decreased VC and FEV1 and increased RV, but with a normal FEV1/VC ratio and total lung capacity, reflects an obstructive impairment of small airways.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bronchial Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Bronchial Diseases / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Syndrome