What is the role of spirometry in the diagnosis of pediatric asthma?

Updated: Jan 08, 2019
  • Author: Girish D Sharma, MD, FCCP, FAAP; Chief Editor: Kenan Haver, MD  more...
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Answer

In a typical case, an obstructive defect is present in the form of normal forced vital capacity (FVC), reduced forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), and reduced forced expiratory flow more than 25-75% of the FVC (FEF 25-75). The flow-volume loop can be concave. Documentation of reversibility of airway obstruction after bronchodilator therapy is central to the definition of asthma. FEF 25-75 is a sensitive indicator of obstruction and may be the only abnormality in a child with mild disease.

In an outpatient or office setting, measurement of the peak flow rate by using a peak flow meter can provide useful information about obstruction in the large airways. Take care to ensure maximum patient effort. However, a normal peak flow rate does not necessarily mean a lack of airway obstruction.


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