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Specificity of the tests proposed for the detection of small airway disease

, : Specificity of the tests proposed for the detection of small airway disease. Bulletin Europeen de Physiopathologie Respiratoire 12(3): 477-486

Tests proposed for the detection of disease of the small airways cannot be interpreted unless routine spirographic tests, bronchial resistance and the pulmonary elasticity curve are normal. The reduction in pulmonary compliance as a function of frequency may reflect an obstruction of the central bronchi. Similarly, forced expiratory outputs of approximately 50% of vital capacity are more influenced by a central obstruction than by a peripheral obstruction. Maximal outputs measured at values near the residual volume, the closure and iso-output volumes, can all be modified by an initial change in the static-volume pressure curve, such as in the loss of parenchymal elasticity of the lung.

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