[Which definition to use when defining reversibility of airway obstruction?]

Rev Mal Respir. 2007 Nov;24(9):1107-15. doi: 10.1016/s0761-8425(07)74260-2.
[Article in French]


Introduction: There is no clear consensus about what constitutes reversibility of airway obstruction. European Respiratory Society (ERS): Increase in FEV1 and/or FVC>12% of their theoretical value and>0.2l. British Thoracic Society: FEV1>15% of initial value and FEV1>0.2l. Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease: Increase in FEV1>12% and>0.2l. Australia and New Zealand Thoracic Society: Increase in FEV1 >15%. American Thoracic Society/ERS: Increase in FEV1>12% and>0.2l or increase in FVC>12% and 0.2l. Our principal objective was to determine the percentage of patients with COPD (n=62) who were significant responders to the reversibility test according to the 5 recommendations.

Methods: Plethysmography was performed before and 15 minutes after inhalation of 400 micrograms of a short acting bronchodilator (BD). COPD is defined as a FEV1/FVC post BD<0.7.

Results: The percentage of responders varied from 24% to 50% depending on the recommendations used.

Conclusion: Reversibility of airway obstruction is recommendation dependent.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Bronchial Provocation Tests*
  • Bronchodilator Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plethysmography
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / classification
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Bronchodilator Agents