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Pediatr Pulmonol. 2015 Oct;50(10):1017-24. doi: 10.1002/ppul.23112. Epub 2014 Nov 3.

Reference ranges for shape indices of the flow-volume loop of healthy children.

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Pulmonary Function Testing Unit, CHU de Lille, Lille, France.
Univ Lille Nord de France, UDSL, Lille, France.



The concavity of the descending limb of the maximum expiratory flow-volume loop (MEFVL) is the earliest change associated with airflow obstruction in small airways (ATS/ERS Task Force). The shape of the MEFVL changes with age but there are no reference values for shape indices for preschool and school children.


To define pediatric reference values for spirometric data and 3 shape indices of MEFVL: 2 geometric indices: the β angle i.e., the angle between the first ½ part and the 2nd part of the MEFVL and the forced expiratory flow after 50% of the forced vital capacity (FVC) has been exhaled/peak expiratory flow (FEF50 /PEF) ratio; and a ratio that describes relative growth between airway and lung parenchyma, the forced expiratory flow between 25 and 75% of FVC/FVC ratio (FEF25-75 /FVC ratio).


Data were obtained from 446 Caucasian children (2.5 to 15-year-old). The lambda, mu, sigma method was applied.


References for spirometric parameters and 3 shape indices. The geometric indices decreased with age from 3 years of age (mean β angle was 215° and FEF50 /PEF ratio was 0.82) until 8 years of age (mean β angle was 191° and FEF50 /PEF ratio was 0.60) and then remained constant. The FEF25-75 /FVC ratio also decreased with age. Sex was a significant determinant for FEF25-75 /FVC ratio predicted values.


This study provides standard reference equations for indices of mid-expiratory flows in children and we suggest using the FEF50 /PEF index.


Pediatric lung function testing; Spirometry refference values; preschool and school lung function

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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