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Editorials |

Whole-Body Plethysmography: The Human Factor

Ephraim Bar-Yishay, PhD
Author and Funding Information

Correspondence to: Ephraim Bar-Yishay, PhD, Head, Abraham and Margaret Cykiert Pulmonary Function Laboratory, Pediatric Pulmonary Institute, Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel, Petach-Tikva, Israel 49202; e-mail: ephraimb@clalit.org.il

Dr. Bar-Yishay is Head of the Abraham and Margaret Cykiert Pulmonary Function Laboratory, Pediatric Pulmonary Institute, Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel.


The author has reported to the ACCP that no significant conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestjournal.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2009 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2009;135(6):1412-1414. doi:10.1378/chest.09-0115
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Extract

The “gold standard” for the measurement of lung volume and airway resistance (Raw) in all subjects is the whole-body plethysmograph, and has been for close to 50 years.1,2 This method is based on Boyles law, which states that in an enclosed gaseous system under isothermal conditions (ie, with negligible temperature changes) the multiplication of pressure by the volume remains constant. In practical terms, by measuring the ratio of mouth pressure to chamber pressure swings during a brief occlusion of the airway opening, it is possible to measure true resting lung volume. The added benefit of plethysmography is that Raw can also be measured during tidal breathing. Thus, by using a simple and short procedure, with fairly simple equipment and little subject coaching and cooperation, very important information can be attained.

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