Respiratory impedance in healthy subjects: baseline values and bronchodilator response

Eur Respir J. 2013 Dec;42(6):1513-23. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00126212. Epub 2013 Apr 18.


Because of the minimal demand for cooperation by the subject, the forced oscillation technique is increasingly employed in routine lung function testing. However, comprehensive and device-independent values of respiratory impedance at baseline and after bronchodilation have not been established for healthy adults. The aim of this multicentre study was to collect impedance data from 4 to 26 Hz in healthy Caucasian subjects between 18 and 80 years of age. Five different devices were employed to assess baseline values and the bronchodilator response. Altogether, 368 subjects were examined. Despite adjustment for anthropometry, the impedance spectra differed in frequency dependence between the centres, and hence could not be pooled. However, resistance at all frequencies except 20 and 25 Hz, and the low-frequency (≤14 Hz) values of reactance did not exhibit a centre dependence. The regression equations for resistance reflected a greater height dependence in males and a greater weight dependence in both males and females than those published previously. Bronchodilation resulted in a statistically significant decrease (11%) in resistance and a 95th percentile equal to a 32% decrease in resistance at low frequency. We conclude that rigorous calibration procedures should be developed to ensure data compatibility. Furthermore, new reference equations based on different setups are recommended to replace those established with a single device.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Airway Resistance
  • Anthropometry
  • Bronchodilator Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Calibration
  • Electric Impedance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oscillometry
  • Quality Control
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Respiration Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Respiratory Function Tests / standards*
  • Spirometry
  • Young Adult


  • Bronchodilator Agents