Feasibility of Measuring Lung Function by Spirometry in Children with Asthma

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Bih-Shya Gau, PhD
Department of nursing, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
Hsiao-Ling Yang, MS
Department of nursing, College of Medicine National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: understand the lung function test applied in children with asthma.

Learning Objective 2: apply the spirometric test in nursing practice and research.

Purpose: Asthma in children is the most prevalent chronic condition worldwide. The lung function measure is crucial to the asthma control and quality of life. This pilot study is to test the feasibility of using Spirometry as a biophysiological measure for children with asthma.

Methods: A convenience sample was recruited from a primary school and two outpatient clinics. Lung function was measured by a spirometry (Chestgraph, HI-101, Tokyo, Japan). All the children were trained on how to use the Spirometry properly before the formal data collection procedure. The lung function parameter included: forced vital capacity (FVC), (Forced Expiratory Volume at 1 second (FEV1), Forced Expiratory Volume at 3 second ( FEV3), and Peak Expiratory Flow Rate (PEFR). Stage of asthma severity was used as a criterion to verify the spirometic testing. Eight-time repeated measures were conducted at 3-month interval.

Results: Lung function was successfully measured in 105 (82.2%) of the 118 children aged from aged 6 to 17 (M = 8.34, SD = 1.39); 13 children were excluded as the low return rate in the clinic. None of the children failed to use the spirometric maneuvers. The majority (62.9%) were boys. 47.8% of them were mild persistent, 26.3% were mild intermittent, 21.1% were moderate persistent, 4.8% severe persistent. The mean FVC, FEV1, and PEFR was reported to 1.45L, 1.48L, and 2.54 L/s. Children's ages increased linearly with lung functions of PEFR (r = .54, P = .00) and FEV3 (r = .74, P = .00). FVC, FEV1, FEV3, and PEFR showed the acceptable properties to determine the 4-stage severity for children. Improvements on the lung function were identified across the repeated measures.

Conclusion: Spirometric testing is a feasible measure in young children to adolescent and may provide useful parameters to identify the level of asthma severity.