Race, ethnicity and lung function: A brief history

Can J Respir Ther. Fall 2015;51(4):99-101.


Spirometry is the most common lung function test and represents the cornerstone diagnostic and management tool for individuals with chronic respiratory diseases. Variability and changing temporal trends in lung function measurements, however, have contributed to the problem of standardizing spirometry, especially with regard to 'race correction'. This article examines the history of the practice, the dilemmas encountered by researchers and the implications of adhering to long-held beliefs without considering more complex explanatory frameworks.