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Free Content FEV3, FEV6 and their derivatives for detecting airflow obstruction in adult Chinese

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BACKGROUND: Forced expiratory volume in 3 seconds (FEV3) and 6 seconds (FEV6) could complement FEV1 and forced vital capacity (FVC) for detecting airflow obstruction.

OBJECTIVE: To compare FEV1/ FEV6 and FEV3/FVC with FEV1/FVC in the detection of airflow obstruction.

METHOD: Previous lung function data were re-analysed to establish reference values for FEV3 and FEV6. Data from a separate cohort of male smokers were used as test set. FEV1, FEV3, FEV6, FVC, FEV1/FVC, FEV1/ FEV6 and FEV3/FVC were regressed against age, standing height, weight and body mass index, and the mean and 95% confidence intervals for the lower limit of normal (LLN) values for these parameters were determined.

RESULTS: The percentage of smokers with airflow obstruction in the test population using FEV1/FVC < LLN was 15.0%, while using FEV1/ FEV6 < LLN and FEV3/FVC < LLN they were respectively 18.5% and 18.1%. Using FEV1/FVC < LLN as reference, the sensitivity and specificity of FEV1/ FEV6 < LLN in identifying airflow obstruction were 82.3% and 92.8%, while those for FEV3/FVC < LLN were 78.5% and 92.6%; the positive and negative predictive values were 67% and 96.7% for FEV1/ FEV6 < LLN and 65.3% and 96% for FEV3/FVC < LLN.

CONCLUSION: FEV3/FVC < LLN and FEV1/ FEV6 < LLN are comparable to FEV1/FVC < LLN for detecting airflow obstruction. FEV3/FVC < LLN could be useful in screening for airflow obstruction, while FEV1/ FEV6 < LLN is useful in detecting airflow limitation in the elderly or in subjects with severe airflow obstruction.
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Keywords: airflow obstruction; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; spirometry

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China 2: School of Nursing, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China 3: Department of Medicine and Geriatrics, Princess Margaret Hospital, Hong Kong, China 4: Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China 5: Department of Intensive Care, Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, Hong Kong, China 6: Department of Medicine, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hong Kong, China 7: Department of Medicine, North District Hospital, Hong Kong, China 8: Respiratory Medicine Department, Kowloon Hospital, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China 9: Department of Medicine and Geriatrics, Tuen Mun Hospital, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China

Publication date: 2012-05-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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