Objective: In clinical practice, spirometry is a extremely useful test that requires strict quality control, an appropriate strategy for interpretation, and reliable reference values. The aim of this study was to report spirometric reference values for 5 cities in Latin America.
Patients and methods: From data for 5315 subjects who had undergone spirometry in the PLATINO study in Caracas, Mexico City, Santiago, São Paulo, and Montevideo, we selected information for 906 (17%) individuals aged between 40 years and 90 years to provide reference values. The chosen subjects had never smoked, were asymptomatic, had not been diagnosed with lung disease, and were not obese. Multiple regression models were constructed with the following spirometric parameters: forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and in 6 seconds (FEV6), peak expiratory flow, forced vital capacity (FVC), FEV1/FEV6, FEV1/FVC, and forced midexpiratory flow rate. Height, sex, and age were also included in the model.
Results: Average values for the subjects studied were similar to those for the white North American population and the Mexican-American population of the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, but exceeded those of the black population of the same survey by 20%.
Conclusions: The proposed reference values are an improvement on those currently available for Latin America because the participants were chosen by population sampling methods and standardized up-to-date methodology was used.