03 February 2016
Oscillometry complements spirometry in evaluation of subjects following toxic inhalation.
A new study on the European Respiratory Journal highlights the utility to add FOT testing to spirometry in subjects following toxic inhalation (for example the 9/11 World Trade Center disaster in 2001).
Although many community members developed respiratory symptoms after World Trade Center destruction in 2001, screening spirometry was usually normal. The study hypothesises that forced oscillation testing can identify functional abnormalities undetected by spirometry and that symptom severity could relate to magnitude of abnormalities measured by oscillometry.
The study finds out that "the addition of forced oscillation to routine assessment of spirometry in the clinical setting uncovered abnormalities in lung function in a persistently symptomatic population with normal spirometry many years after exposure to the 9/11 disaster".
The present study highlights that assessment of small airway function can be performed routinely in the large-scale clinical setting. Importantly, the study suggests that small airway assessment has an important role in characterising symptoms not explained by spirometry. The finding of abnormal oscillometry and its correlation to symptom severity, even in the setting of normal spirometry, is in accord with the presence of small airway abnormalities as a potential explanation of the lower respiratory symptoms. The presence of small airway abnormality associated with persistence of lower respiratory symptoms many years after exposure to WTC dust suggests persistent airway disease.
The study is available free to download at the following link: click here