Restrictive spirometric pattern and true pulmonary restriction in a general population sample aged 50 - 64 years

BMC Pulm Med. 2020 Feb 27;20(1):55. doi: 10.1186/s12890-020-1096-z.


Background: There is low diagnostic accuracy of the proxy restrictive spirometric pattern (RSP) to identify true pulmonary restriction. This knowledge is based on patients referred for spirometry and total lung volume determination by plethysmograpy, single breath nitrogen washout technique or gas dilution and selected controls. There is, however, a lack of data from general populations analyzing whether RSP is a valid proxy for true pulmonary restriction. We have validated RSP in relation to true pulmonary restriction in a general population where we have access to measurements of total lung capacity (TLC) and spirometry.

Methods: The data was from the Swedish CArdioPulmonary bioImage Study (SCAPIS Pilot), a general population-based study, comprising 983 adults aged 50-64. All subjects answered a respiratory questionnaire. Forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) were obtained before and after bronchodilation. TLC and residual volume (RV) was recorded using a body plethysmograph. All lung function values are generally expressed as percent predicted (% predicted) or in relation to lower limits of normal (LLN). True pulmonary restriction was defined as TLC < LLN5 defined as a Z score < - 1.645, i e the fifth percentile. RSP was defined as FEV1/FVC ≥ LLN and FVC < LLN after bronchodilation. Specificity, sensitivity, positive and negative likelihood ratios were calculated, and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated.

Results: The prevalence of true pulmonary restriction was 5.4%, and the prevalence of RSP was 3.4%. The sensitivity of RSP to identify true pulmonary restriction was 0.34 (0.20-0.46), the corresponding specificity was 0.98 (0.97-0.99), and the positive likelihood ratio was 21.1 (11.3-39.4) and the negative likelihood ratio was 0.67 (0.55-0.81).

Conclusions: RSP has low accuracy for identifying true pulmonary restriction. The results support previous observations that RSP is useful for ruling out true pulmonary restriction.

Keywords: RSP; Reference values; Restrictive lung disease; SCAPIS; TLC; Validity.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Spirometry*
  • Total Lung Capacity*