Study objective: To determine the ability of children
and adolescents to meet the American Thoracic Society (ATS) goals for
spirometry quality that were based on results from adults.
than 4,000 public school students, ages 9 to 18 years.
Measurements: Spirometry was performed annually for 3
years, with the recording of maneuver quality measures of forced
expiratory time, end-of-test volume, back-extrapolated volume, and time
to peak expiratory flow (PEFT), and the recording of differences
between best and second-best FVC, FEV1, and peak expiratory
flow (PEF) values.
Results: Regression analyses showed
significant influences of participant age, gender, ethnicity, size,
clinical status, and previous testing experience, as well as
differences among individual test technicians. In general, these
influences were small and explained little of the variance in
performance. On average, children with a history of asthma or wheeze
performed better quality spirometry than did others. Only PEFT improved
significantly from year to year. Overall, only 15% of girls’ tests
and 32% of boys’ tests met the PEFT criterion derived from adults in
the Lung Health Study.
Conclusion: Most of the
children met adult-based ATS goals for spirometry test performance. Age
group-specific criteria are needed to ensure adequately fast PEFT and
reproducible PEF values.