The forced oscillation technique (FOT) is a useful tool to assess respiratory resistance and reactance during tidal breathing in patients with respiratory diseases, specifically asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Although the FOT has been clinically used, results of respiratory impedance can be affected by various factors such as upper airway artifact. We investigated the effects of cheek support on respiratory resistance and reactance measured by a commercially available FOT equipment MostGraph-01. Respiratory resistance at 20 Hz (R20) with support of the cheeks was significantly higher than those without the cheek support in healthy subjects. Two different cheek support protocols, support of the cheeks by subjects themselves and an operator, were compared in healthy volunteers and patients with respiratory diseases. The cheek support protocols significantly affected respiratory resistance at 5 Hz (R5) and reactance at 5 Hz (X5) in the patient group but not in the healthy subjects. Moreover, for X5, there was a significant interaction between cheek support protocols (by a subject or operator) and groups (healthy or diseased). In conclusion, during impedance measurements using the FOT, application of cheek support either by subjects or the operator is recommended to reduce upper airway artifacts, however, results obtained by two protocols may be different in patients with respiratory diseases. Contribution of the chest wall and position of the arms to the mechanical properties should be carefully considered in physiological studies in which the FOT is attempted.
Keywords: Asthma; COPD; Cheek support; Forced oscillation technique; MostGraph; Reactance; Respiratory resistance; Upper airway shunt.