Gas trapping in normal infants and in infants with cystic fibrosis

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2004 May;37(5):461-9. doi: 10.1002/ppul.10446.


Two different methods for estimating trapped gas volume have been described in the literature. The purpose of this study was to use both of these methods to estimate and compare trapped gas volumes in normal infants and infants with cystic fibrosis (CF). Thirty normal infants and 29 infants with CF, ages 1 month to 3 years, were studied. Pulmonary function tests, including raised volume forced expiratory flows, plethysmographic functional residual capacity (FRC(pleth)), and fractional lung volumes, were measured. Then functional residual capacity was measured by nitrogen washout (FRC(nitrogen)). Following nitrogen washout, lungs were then inflated three times to 30 cm H(2)O, using 100% oxygen. This process was repeated until no further nitrogen could be washed from the lungs. The volume of trapped gas (tg) was calculated from the total additional amounts of nitrogen expired following lung inflations. The difference between FRC(pleth) and FRC(nitrogen) provided a second estimate of trapped gas volume (delta V). Mean tg and delta V values for normal infants were 2.5 +/- 3.5 ml and 15.6 +/- 30.4 ml, respectively. Mean tg and delta V values for infants with CF were 5.8 +/- 7.7 ml and 33.2 +/- 43.8 ml, respectively. Both tg and delta V did not differ significantly between normal infants and infants with CF. Measured following raised volume forced expiratory maneuvers, delta V and tg do not distinguish infants with CF from normal infants as well as do other currently available tests of infant lung function.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Air
  • Airway Obstruction
  • Cystic Fibrosis / diagnosis
  • Cystic Fibrosis / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Functional Residual Capacity*
  • Helium
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Maximal Expiratory Flow-Volume Curves
  • Plethysmography
  • Total Lung Capacity


  • Helium