Nitrogen multiple-breath washout (N2MBW) is an increasingly used tidal breathing test in young children to assess ventilation inhomogeneity. However, the test requires 100% oxygen to perform. We aimed to examine the potential influence of pure oxygen on breathing pattern in school-aged children. We performed tidal breathing measurements under room air followed by N2MBW in 16 former preterm children and 24 healthy controls. We compared tidal volume (VT), coefficient of variation of VT (CVVT), respiratory rate (RR), and minute ventilation (VE) between tidal breathing and N2MBW, and between the start and end of tidal breathing. Mean (range) age was 6.8 (5.9, 9.0) years. VT, RR and VE showed no significant change upon oxygen-exposure, while CVVT significantly decreased by 5% (95% CI: 1.2, 9.0; p=0.012). However CVVT was also the only parameter which significantly decreased during tidal breathing. Overall, pure oxygen has no systematic effect on breathing pattern in young school-aged children. N2MBW can reliably be used as tracer gas in this age group.
Keywords: Breathing pattern; Children; Oxygen; Washout.
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