Serial lung function tests in primary immune deficiency

Clin Exp Immunol. 2008 Jan;151(1):110-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2007.03550.x. Epub 2007 Nov 14.


Pulmonary complications are common in patients with primary immune deficiency (PID). The aim of this study was to assess the usefulness of lung function tests (LFTs) in the management of these patients, and in particular to see if carbon monoxide transfer factor (TLCO) is needed in addition to spirometry. We studied 20 patients (11 female) with PID in a tertiary referral clinic, with a mean age of 47.6 years. Serial LFTs, spanning a mean of 101 months, were correlated with immunoglobulin levels and antibiotic usage. Seven patients showed a decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 second over the period of the study. An additional five patients showed a decline in TLCO. Of these 12 patients, two had no radiographic evidence of lung disease. Higher levels of immunoglobulin were associated with slower decline in LFTs (P < 0.05). The analysis of antibiotic usage and LFTs failed to show a statistically significant effect, although there was a trend towards a slower rate of decline with greater use of antibiotics. LFTs decline slowly in patients with PID. Annual testing (both spirometry and transfer factor) is useful in the assessment of these patients, and should not be confined to those with radiological evidence of lung disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carbon Monoxide / metabolism
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / blood
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / immunology
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / metabolism
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / physiopathology*
  • Linear Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity
  • Spirometry
  • Transfer Factor / physiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Transfer Factor
  • Carbon Monoxide