Reference values of pulmonary diffusing capacity for nitric oxide in an adult population

Nitric Oxide. 2008 Feb;18(1):70-9. doi: 10.1016/j.niox.2007.10.002. Epub 2007 Oct 22.


Our objective was to create reference values for single-breath DLNO based on a sample of non-smoking healthy males and females using a short breath-hold time. The sample included 130 individuals varied in age (18-85 yr), height (149-190 cm), and weight (49.4-102.6 kg). The subjects performed single-breath-hold maneuvers at rest inhaling 41 +/- 6 ppm NO and a standard diffusion mixture. The breath-hold time was 5.5 +/ -0.6 s. Multiple linear regression with backward elimination of the independent variables age, weight, gender, and either measured lung volume (called alveolar volume or VA) or height revealed specific prediction equations for DLNO. Inserting VA instead of height into the regression equation determined how much of an abnormality of DLNO was due to gas exchange versus low lung volume. The predicted DLNO adjusted for lung volume (ml/min/mmHg) = DLNO = 73.1 + 17.26 x (VA)+17.56 x (gender) - 1.0 x (age). The predicted DLNO unadjusted for lung volume (ml/min/mmHg) = -20.1 + 1.167 x (height)+31.81 x (gender) - 1.21 x (age). For gender, 1 = males, 0 = females; VA = liters; height = cm. Age, gender and VA (lung volume) were the best predictors of DLNO and DLCO. Weight was not a good independent predictor of DLNO or DLCO. When normalizing for height and age, women have 650 ml lower forced vital capacity, 660 ml lower VA, and a 6 and 32 ml/min/mmHg lower DLCO and DLNO, respectively, compared to men. Normalizing for lung volume and age, women have, on average, a 3.2 and 18 ml/min/mmHg lower DLCO and DLNO, respectively, compared to men.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carbon Monoxide / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitric Oxide / administration & dosage
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity*
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Respiratory Function Tests


  • Nitric Oxide
  • Carbon Monoxide