Recently, "Technical standards for respiratory oscillometry" was published, which reviewed the physiological basis of oscillometric measures and detailed the technical factors related to equipment and test performance, quality assurance and reporting of results. Here we present a review of the clinical significance and applications of oscillometry. We briefly review the physiological principles of oscillometry and the basics of oscillometry interpretation, and then describe what is currently known about oscillometry in its role as a sensitive measure of airway resistance, bronchodilator responsiveness and bronchial challenge testing, and response to medical therapy, particularly in asthma and COPD. The technique may have unique advantages in situations where spirometry and other lung function tests are not suitable, such as in infants, neuromuscular disease, sleep apnoea and critical care. Other potential applications include detection of bronchiolitis obliterans, vocal cord dysfunction and the effects of environmental exposures. However, despite great promise as a useful clinical tool, we identify a number of areas in which more evidence of clinical utility is needed before oscillometry becomes routinely used for diagnosing or monitoring respiratory disease.
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