In a group of 173 healthy preschool children 3-6 years of age (body height, 90-130 cm; 102 boys and 71 girls) out of total 279 children examined, maximum expiratory flow-volume (MEFV) curves were recorded in cross-sectional measurements. The majority (62%) of preschool children were able to generate an MEFV curve as correctly as older children. From the curves, maximum expiratory flows at 25%, 50%, and 75 % of vital capacity (MEF(25), MEF(50), and MEF(75)), peak expiratory flow (PEF), forced expiratory volume in 1 sec (FEV(1)), forced vital capacity (FVC), and area delineated by MEFV curve (A(ex)) were obtained. The purpose of the study was to establish reference values of forced expiratory parameters in preschool children suitable for assessment of lung function abnormalities in respiratory preschool children. The values of the studied parameters increased nonlinearly and correlated significantly with body height (P < 0.0001); the correlation was much lower with age. A simple power regression equation was calculated for the relationship between each parameter and body height. A best-fit regression equation relating functional parameters and body height was a power function. Based on the obtained regression equations with upper and lower limits, we prepared tables listing reference values of forced expiratory parameters in healthy Caucasian preschool children, against which patients can be compared. No statistically significant gender differences were observed for MEF(25), MEF(50), MEF(75), PEF, FEV(1), FVC, and A(ex) by extrapolation. The reference values were close to those obtained in our older children. A decline of the ratios PEF/FVC, FEV(1)/FVC and MEF/FVC with increasing body height suggested more patent airways in younger and smaller preschool children.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.