Which pulmonary function tests are used in the workup of cystic fibrosis (CF)?

Updated: Oct 22, 2019
  • Author: Girish D Sharma, MD, FCCP, FAAP; Chief Editor: Kenan Haver, MD  more...
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Infant lung function testing using raised volume rapid thoracic compression (RVRTC) whole body plethysmography is gaining wider acceptance; however, its use is mostly confined to specialized and research centers. This testing has been successfully used to demonstrate airway obstruction in young infants with CF. [45, 46]

Standard spirometry may not be reliable until patients are aged 5-6 years; however, some younger patients can be taught to do reproducible maneuvers. Partial flow-volume curves may show abnormalities in addition to an elevated airway resistance and hyperinflation.

The forced oscillation technique (FOT), which uses the impulse oscillometry system (IOS), can be used successfully in younger children. Airway resistance measured by IOS has been found to be similar to the airway resistance measured by body plethysmography, and this technique has been successfully used to measure lung function in young patients with CF who are unable to perform spirometry. [47]

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