The detection of collapsible airways contributing to airflow limitation

Chest. 1995 Mar;107(3):856-9. doi: 10.1378/chest.107.3.856.


The detection of collapsible airways, which may be a component of asthma and emphysema, has important therapeutic implications. We describe a patient with significant airways collapse contributing to his airflow limitation and discuss how collapsible airways can be assessed by the volume difference between what exits the lung as determined by a spirometer and the volume compressed as measured by the plethysmograph. More simply, a large volume difference between the slow and forced vital capacity (SVC-FVC), easily obtained from spirometry, may be used as a surrogate index of airway collapse.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Plethysmography, Whole Body
  • Respiratory Function Tests / methods*
  • Respiratory Mechanics*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Spirometry
  • Vital Capacity