Pulmonary function tests, part 1: Applying the basics

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Spirometry is the gold standard for identifying airway obstruction. The principal parameters used are forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), and the FEV1:FVC ratio. When the FEV1:FVC ratio is reduced, the percent of predicted FEV 1 is used to grade the severity of airway obstruction. The appearance of the inspiratory and expiratory flow-volume loops can suggest disease patterns. For example, the inspiratory flow-volume loop is flattened in variable extrathoracic obstruction of the airway. In variable intrathoracic obstruction, the expiratory flow-volume loop is blunted. Vital capacity and FEV1 are used to gauge bronchodilator response; the postbronchodilator FEV 1 is a more stable parameter for serial comparison of obstruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-40
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Respiratory Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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