A comparison was made of the frequency dependence of total respiratory resistance, (Rrs), and reactance (Xrs), determined by a forced oscillation technique in 442 healthy subjects and in 126 patients with respiratory complaints, with or without slight airways obstruction. The comparison was performed by means of a discriminant analysis. The latter demonstrated that the Rrs and Xrs data, measured between 8 and 24 Hz, of patients differ from those of healthy subjects primarily by a decrease of Rrs with frequency associated with more negative Xrs (and thus with an increase in resonant frequency). This probably also applies to patients with more advanced airways obstruction. The addition of the FEV1 values to the analysis provides only a small amount of independent information. The forced oscillation technique thus appears to be a sensitive tool to separate healthy subjects (smokers and nonsmokers) from patients with respiratory complaints associated or not with a reduced FEV1.