Forced oscillation technique and childhood asthma

Allergol Int. 2012 Sep;61(3):373-83. doi: 10.2332/allergolint.12-RAI-0440.


Most infants and preschool children are not able to voluntarily perform the physiological maneuvers required to complete the pulmonary function tests that are used in adults and older children. Recently, commercial devices using forced oscillation technique (FOT) suitable for young children have become available. In devices with FOT, an oscillation pressure wave is generated by a loud speaker, is applied to the respiratory system, usually at the mouth, and the resulting pressure-flow relationship is analyzed in terms of impedance (Zrs). Zrs encompasses both resistance (Rrs) and reactance (Xrs). Rrs is calculated from pressure and flow signals, and is a measure of central and peripheral airway caliber. Xrs is derived from the pressure in the phase with volume and is related to compliance (Crs) and inertance (Irs). These parameters individually indicate the condition of the small and large airways in each patient and indirectly suggest the presence of airway inflammation. It is agreed that the clinical diagnostic capacity of FOT is comparable to that of spirometry. One of the advantages of FOT is that minimal cooperation of the patient is needed and no respiratory maneuvers are required. The use of FOT should be considered in patients in whom spirometry or other pulmonary function tests cannot be performed or in cases where the results of other tests appear to be unreliable. In addition, this approach is effective in assessing bronchial hyperresponsiveness. Considering these qualities, FOT is a useful method to study pulmonary function in preschool children with asthma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Oscillometry / methods
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration / methods*
  • Respiratory Function Tests