Quality of spirometry in 5-to-8-year-old children

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2013 Dec;48(12):1231-6. doi: 10.1002/ppul.22765. Epub 2013 Feb 8.


Introduction: Although spirometry quality standards for children were proposed by American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society (ATS/ERS) in 2007, there is limited information on the percentage of children that fulfill these criteria during routine clinical testing, especially among 5-to-8-year-olds.

Aims of the study: to report the percentage of children that met the current 2007 ATS/ERS quality criteria; explore factors potentially associated with poor quality spirometry; and ascertain the repeatability of forced expiratory volume at 0.5 sec (FEV0.5 ), and at 1 sec (FEV1 ), as well as forced vital capacity (FVC).

Methods: We evaluated the quality of spirometries without bronchodilator use performed at our laboratory in 2008 by 5-to-8-year-old children. FEV1 , FEV0.5 , FVC, back-extrapolated volume (BEV), forced expiratory time (FET), number of acceptable maneuvers, and repeatability, were computed and the percentage of tests that met the quality criteria standards was calculated. Based on our results, we propose a quality scoring system for spirometry for children that grades on a scale from A-to-F.

Results: Three hundred seventy-six spirometries were reviewed. Mean age was 6.7 years; (53% males); 68% fulfilled the 2005 and 2007 ATS/ERS quality standards; >90% reached a repeatability ≤150 and ≤100 ml, or 10%, in FVC or FEV1 ; 87.2% reached FET ≥3 sec; 88% had a BEV ≤80 ml. The 90 percentile repeatability was 120 ml for FVC and FEV1 . Quality improved with age.

Conclusions: Our results support the proposal that a FET ≥3 sec, a BEV ≤80 ml, and repeatability in FEV1 and FVC ≤100 ml, or 10%, be taken into account as elements in quality control for spirometry in children.

Keywords: children; preschoolers; quality; spirometry.

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Respiratory System / standards*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spirometry / standards
  • Vital Capacity / physiology*