Relationship between peak cough flow and spirometry in Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2005 May;39(5):457-60. doi: 10.1002/ppul.20151.


Spirometry is used to monitor respiratory progress in children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Mucociliary clearance depends on cough strength, which can be measured by peak cough flow (PCF). It is not routinely measured in most centers. When the PCF falls below 270 l/min, mucociliary clearance is likely to be impaired during viral illnesses, and techniques to assist mucociliary clearance should be taught. There is no known association between spirometry and PCF. Our aim was to assess if PCF relates to spirometry measures, and if spirometry can be used to predict when the PCF <270 l/min. Children with DMD aged 6-19 years were recruited. Spirometry was performed with a Jaeger Masterscope with version 4.60 software. PCF was performed with a Wright peak flow meter. Data were collected into an Access '97 database, and statistics were performed with Stata 7.0. The association between PCF and spirometry was defined with linear regression. Logistic regression was used to predict the probability that the PCF would be <270 l/min for any given forced vital capacity (FVC) or forced expired volume in 1 sec (FEV1). The risk ratios for PCF <270 l/min were calculated for the spirometry parameters. PCF is associated with FVC (R2, 0.72) and FEV1 (R2, 0.69). The likelihood of PCF <270 l/min rises when FVC <2.l and FEV1 <2.l/sec. The risk ratio for PCF <270 l/min when FVC <2.1 l is 4.80 (1.72-13.40) and when FEV1 <2.1 l/sec is 3.94 (1.43-10.85). In children with DMD, PCF should be measured when FVC <2.1 l or FEV1 <2.1 l/sec, so that techniques to assist with mucociliary clearance can be effectively used.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cough / physiopathology*
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mucociliary Clearance / physiology
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / physiopathology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / physiology*
  • Software
  • Spirometry* / instrumentation
  • Spirometry* / methods
  • Vital Capacity / physiology