Objective: To obtain spirometry and maximal respiratory pressure (MRP) reference values for elderly persons.
Setting: General community.
Participants: Four hundred seventy-one healthy ambulatory white women and men age 65+ years.
Methods: A stringent spirometry quality assurance program exceeded American Thoracic Society recommendations. A "healthy" subgroup of 176 women and 112 men between the ages of 65- and 85 years were identified by excluding those with conditions that negatively influenced FEV1 in a multiple regression analysis. Reference equations and normal ranges for FEV1, FVC, FEF25-75%, peak flow, and maximal inspiratory and expiratory pressures (MRPs) were determined from the healthy group with good quality maneuvers.
Results: Less than 10% of the subjects were unable to perform three acceptable spirometry maneuvers and ten MRP maneuvers. When the age and height corrected FEV1s from this group were compared with other spirometry reference studies, mean values from the women were nearly identical to those from Morris, while these men had substantially lower FEV1 values (by 0.3- to 0.5L) than elderly men in Crapo's study. Mean peak flow was over 20% higher when compared with previous studies, suggesting greater initial expiratory effort by our subjects. The maximal inspiratory pressure (MIP) values were about 20% higher than those reported by the Cardiovascular Health Study, perhaps because five MIP maneuvers were always performed.
Conclusion: Spirometry and MRP reference values used for elderly patients should come from population studies using similar techniques and with large numbers of subjects over age 65 years.