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Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2012 May;16(5):681-6. doi: 10.5588/ijtld.11.0283.

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

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Department of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.



Forced expiratory volume in 3 seconds (FEV(3)) and 6 seconds (FEV(6)) could complement FEV(1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) for detecting airflow obstruction.


To compare FEV(1)/ FEV(6) and FEV(3)/FVC with FEV(1)/FVC in the detection of airflow obstruction.


Previous lung function data were re-analysed to establish reference values for FEV(3) and FEV(6). Data from a separate cohort of male smokers were used as test set. FEV(1), FEV(3), FEV(6), FVC, FEV(1)/FVC, FEV(1)/ FEV(6) and FEV(3)/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.


The percentage of smokers with airflow obstruction in the test population using FEV(1)/FVC < LLN was 15.0%, while using FEV(1)/ FEV(6) < LLN and FEV(3)/FVC < LLN they were respectively 18.5% and 18.1%. Using FEV(1)/FVC < LLN as reference, the sensitivity and specificity of FEV(1)/ FEV(6) < LLN in identifying airflow obstruction were 82.3% and 92.8%, while those for FEV(3)/FVC < LLN were 78.5% and 92.6%; the positive and negative predictive values were 67% and 96.7% for FEV(1)/ FEV(6) < LLN and 65.3% and 96% for FEV(3)/FVC < LLN.


FEV(3)/FVC < LLN and FEV(1)/ FEV(6) < LLN are comparable to FEV(1)/FVC < LLN for detecting airflow obstruction. FEV(3)/FVC < LLN could be useful in screening for airflow obstruction, while FEV(1)/ FEV(6) < LLN is useful in detecting airflow limitation in the elderly or in subjects with severe airflow obstruction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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