Background: Red cell distribution width (RDW) reflects heterogeneity of the erythrocyte volumes. High RDW is a novel risk marker, which has been associated with mortality and morbidity both from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, but the association between RDW and measures of lung function in the general population remains unclear.
Methods: The associations of RDW with spirometry, diffusing capacity (DLCO) and impulse oscillometry (IOS) were investigated among 5767, 5496 and 5598 subjects (aged 50-64 years), respectively, from the Swedish CArdioPulmonary bioImage Study (SCAPIS). Multiple linear regression and general linear models were performed to examine the relationships of lung function measures and RDW, with adjustment for potential confounding factors.
Results: Forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC) and FEV1/FVC were significantly and inversely associated with RDW after multivariate adjustments. For 1- standard deviation (SD) increase in RDW, FEV1 decreased with 0.034 L (95%CI: -0.046 to -0.022 L), p < 0.001; FVC with 0.031 L (95%CI: -0.045 to -0.017 L), p < 0.001; and FEV1/FVC with 0.003 (95%CI: -0.004 to -0.001), p = 0.002. Significant associations of RDW and DLCO were only found among smokers. For IOS, pulmonary reactance rather than resistance was significantly associated with RDW: X5 decreased 0.002 kPa/(L/s) (95%CI: -0.003 to -0.0002 kPa/(L/s)), p = 0.025, per 1-SD higher RDW.
Conclusions: We found significant negative associations between RDW and measures of lung function. However, the effect sizes are small and RDW is not likely to be a sensitive marker of impaired lung function in middle-aged individuals from the general population.
Keywords: Diffusing capacity; General population; Impulse oscillometry; Lung function measures; Red cell distribution width; Spirometry.
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