The raised lung volume technique is increasingly used to measure forced expiratory maneuvers in infants. However, there is no consensus regarding the optimal airway inflation pressure (P(inf)) required for such maneuvers, or the influence of small changes in P(inf) within and between infants. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of small differences (0.2-0.3 kPa) in P(inf) on forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expired volume in 0.5 sec (FEV(0.5)), and forced expired flow at 75% of vital capacity (FEF(75)), all derived from the raised volume rapid thoraco-abdominal compression (RVRTC) technique. Randomized paired forced expiratory maneuvers were obtained in 32 healthy infants ( 3.9-39.3 weeks old, 3.8-9.9 kg) with the safety pressure relief valve for P(inf) set to 2.7 kPa or 3.0 kPa (27 or 30 cm H(2)0). When mean (SD) P(inf) was increased by 8.4 (2.8)%, there was a significant (P < 0.01) increase in mean (SD) FVC, FEV(0.5), and FEF(75) by 5.8 (5.7)%, 6.1 (6)%, and 8.3 (16.2)%, respectively. In conclusion, relatively small differences in P(inf) will result in significant differences in FVC, FEV(0.5), and FEF(75) by RVRTC technique. Precision in setting and reporting the applied P(inf) is therefore essential, particularly if data are to be compared between centers.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.