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Breathe (Sheff). 2017 Sep;13(3):e56-e64. doi: 10.1183/20734735.012717.

The Global Lung Function Initiative (GLI) Network: bringing the world's respiratory reference values together.

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Lung Function and Sleep, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK.
Respiratory, Critical Care and Anaesthesia section, UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, London, UK.
Telethon Kids Institute, Perth, Australia.
School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University, Perth, Australia.
Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia.
Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.
Pulmonary Laboratory, Isala, Zwolle, The Netherlands.
Allergy Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, The Alfred Hospital and Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
Division of Respirology, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.
Institute of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.
Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, MO USA.
School of Social and Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.
Dept of Internal Medicine, Veterans Affairs Clinical Epidemiology Research Center, West Haven, CT, USA.
Respiratory Medicine, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada.
Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.


The Global Lung Function Initiative (GLI) Network has become the largest resource for reference values for routine lung function testing ever assembled. This article addresses how the GLI Network came about, why it is important, and its current challenges and future directions. It is an extension of an article published in Breathe in 2013 [1], and summarises recent developments and the future of the GLI Network.


The Global Lung Function Initiative (GLI) Network was established as a result of international collaboration, and altruism between researchers, clinicians and industry partners. The ongoing success of the GLI relies on network members continuing to work together to further improve how lung function is reported and interpreted across all age groups around the world.The GLI Network has produced standardised lung function reference values for spirometry and gas transfer tests.GLI reference equations should be adopted immediately for spirometry and gas transfer by clinicians and physiologists worldwide.The recently established GLI data repository will allow ongoing development and evaluation of reference values, and will offer opportunities for novel research.


To highlight the advances made by the GLI Network during the past 5 years.To highlight the importance of using GLI reference values for routine lung function testing (e.g. spirometry and gas transfer tests).To discuss the challenges that remain for developing and improving reference values for lung function tests.

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