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Pediatr Pulmonol. 2016 Mar;51(3):258-66. doi: 10.1002/ppul.23303. Epub 2015 Sep 3.

Feasibility of spirometry testing in preschool children.

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School of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), San Antonio, Texas.
Department of Pediatrics, UTHSCSA, San Antonio, Texas.
Department of General Internal Medicine, University of Washington, Washington.



The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of obtaining acceptable and reproducible spirometry data in preschool aged children (3-5 years) by technicians without prior experience with spirometry.


Two technicians were trained to perform spirometry testing (ndd Easy on-PC) and to administer standardized questionnaires. Preschool aged children were enrolled from two Head Start centers and a local primary care clinic. Subjects were trained in proper spirometry technique and tested until at least two acceptable efforts were obtained or the subject no longer produced acceptable efforts.


200 subjects were enrolled: mean age 4.0 years (± 0.7 SD); age distribution: 51 (25.5%) 3 years old, 103 (51.5%) 4 years old, and 46 (23%) 5 years old. Fifty-six percent male and 75% Hispanic. One hundred thirty (65%) subjects produced at least one acceptable effort on their first visit: 23 (45%) for 3 years old, 67 (65%) for 4 years old, and 40 (87%) for 5 years old. The number of acceptable efforts correlated with age (r = 0.29, P < 0.001) but not gender. The mean number of acceptable efforts on the first visit was 2.66 (± 2.54 SD; range 0-10). One hundred twenty subjects (60%) had two acceptable efforts; 102 had FEV0.5 within 10% or 0.1 L and 104 had FVC within 10% or 0.1 L of best effort. The Asthma Health Screening Survey (AHSS) was 78% sensitive when compared to a specialist exam and 86% compared to a self-reported prior diagnosis of asthma.


Technicians without prior experience were able to obtain acceptable and reproducible spirometry results from the preschool aged children; the number of acceptable efforts correlated significantly with age.


asthma/pp (physiopathology); child; feasibility studies; pulmonary ventilation; respiratory function tests

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