Asthma outcomes: pulmonary physiology

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2012 Mar;129(3 Suppl):S65-87. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2011.12.986.


Background: Outcomes of pulmonary physiology have a central place in asthma clinical research.

Objective: At the request of National Institutes of Health (NIH) institutes and other federal agencies, an expert group was convened to provide recommendations on the use of pulmonary function measures as asthma outcomes that should be assessed in a standardized fashion in future asthma clinical trials and studies to allow for cross-study comparisons.

Methods: Our subcommittee conducted a comprehensive search of PubMed to identify studies that focused on the validation of various airway response tests used in asthma clinical research. The subcommittee classified the instruments as core (to be required in future studies), supplemental (to be used according to study aims and in a standardized fashion), or emerging (requiring validation and standardization). This work was discussed at an NIH-organized workshop in March 2010 and finalized in September 2011.

Results: A list of pulmonary physiology outcomes that applies to both adults and children older than 6 years was created. These outcomes were then categorized into core, supplemental, and emerging. Spirometric outcomes (FEV(1), forced vital capacity, and FEV(1)/forced vital capacity ratio) are proposed as core outcomes for study population characterization, for observational studies, and for prospective clinical trials. Bronchodilator reversibility and prebronchodilator and postbronchodilator FEV(1) also are core outcomes for study population characterization and observational studies.

Conclusions: The subcommittee considers pulmonary physiology outcomes of central importance in asthma and proposes spirometric outcomes as core outcomes for all future NIH-initiated asthma clinical research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Biomedical Research / standards
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Respiratory Function Tests / standards
  • Spirometry
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Bronchodilator Agents