Lung volumes in healthy Afro-Caribbean children aged 4-17 years

Karl P Sylvester, Peter Milligan, Richard A Patey, Gerrard F Rafferty, Anne Greenough
Pediatric Pulmonology 2005, 40 (2): 109-12
Lung volumes in healthy children differ according to their ethnic origin. We wished to determine if any differences in the lung volumes of Afro-Caribbean (AC) children from those predicted by Caucasian reference values disappeared if the results were related to sitting height or to 90% or 77% of lung volumes predicted for height from Caucasian reference values based on standing height. We took, as our working hypothesis, that it is inappropriate to use Caucasian reference values to interpret data from Afro-Caribbean children, and that ethnic-specific reference values are required. This was a prospective, observational study. Subjects included 80 AC children with a median age of 9 (range, 4.3-17.8) years. Standing and sitting height were measured. Lung volumes were measured by body plethysmography (total lung capacity, TLC(pleth); functional residual capacity, FRC(pleth); and vital capacity, VC(pleth)), helium gas dilution (functional residual capacity, (FRC(He)), spirometry (forced expiratory volume in 1 sec, FEV(1)), and forced vital capacity (FVC). The lung volumes of AC children correlated significantly with standing height, but differed significantly from values predicted from Caucasian reference values based on standing height (P < 0.05). Significant differences remained for TLC(pleth), FRC(pleth), FRC(He), RV(pleth), VC(pleth), FEV(1), and FVC when the results were related to sitting height or 90% or 77% of values predicted from Caucasian reference values based on height (P < 0.05). Lung volumes in Afro-Caribbean children should be compared to ethnic-specific reference values.

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