What are the ATS/ERS criteria for acceptability of diffusing capacity of lung for carbon monoxide (DLCO) testing?

Updated: May 14, 2020
  • Author: Kevin McCarthy, RPFT; Chief Editor: Nader Kamangar, MD, FACP, FCCP, FCCM  more...
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The 2017 criteria for acceptability of DLCO efforts are as follows:

  • VI (inspired volume of test gas) greater than 90% of the largest VC measured by same-day slow or forced spirometry (2005 standard was >85%) or
  • VI greater than 85% of largest VC and alveolar volume (VA) within 0.2 L or 5% (whichever is greater) of the largest VA from other acceptable maneuvers
  • 85% of test gas VI inhaled in less than 4 seconds (unchanged from 2005 standards)
  • Breathe hold time of 10 + 2 seconds without evidence of significant leaks, Valsalva maneuver, or Mueller maneuver (unchanged from 2005 standards)
  • Sample collection completed within 4 seconds of the start of exhalation (was 3 seconds in 2005 standards); for RGA systems, virtual sample collection should be initiated after dead-space washout is complete

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