FEV(1)/FEV(6) to diagnose airflow obstruction. Comparisons with computed tomography and morbidity indices

COPDGene Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

RATIONALE: FVC is a difficult maneuver for many patients, and forced expiratory volume in 6 seconds (FEV6) has been proposed as a surrogate for FVC for the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Previous studies have performed head-to-head comparisons of these thresholds but did not examine their relationships with structural lung disease, symptoms, or exacerbations.

OBJECTIVES: To compare FEV1/FEV6 with FEV1/FVC in the diagnosis of COPD-related morbidity and structural lung disease as assessed by CT.

METHODS: We analyzed data from a large multicenter cohort study (COPDGene) that included current and former smokers (age 45-80 yr). Accuracy and concordance between the two ratios in diagnosing structural COPD was compared using CT measures of emphysema and airway disease and COPD-related morbidity to assess how the two ratios compare in defining disease.

RESULTS: A total of 10,018 subjects were included. FEV1/FEV6 showed excellent accuracy in diagnosing airflow obstruction using FEV1/FVC < 0.70 as a reference (area under curve, 0.99; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.989-0.992; P < 0.001). FEV1/FEV6 < 0.73 had the best sum of sensitivity (92.1%; 95% CI, 90.8-92.4) and specificity (97.3%; 95% CI, 97.3-98.1). There was excellent agreement between the two diagnostic cutoffs (κ = 0.90; 95% CI, 0.80-0.91; P < 0.001). In comparison with control subjects and those positive by FEV1/FVC alone, subjects positive by FEV1/FEV6 alone had greater gas trapping and airway wall thickness, worse functional capacity, and a greater number of exacerbations on follow-up. These relationships held true when disease definitions were made using the lower limits of normal.

CONCLUSIONS: FEV1/FEV6 can be substituted for FEV1/FVC in diagnosing airflow obstruction and may better predict COPD-related pathology and morbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-41
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Airway Obstruction
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spirometry
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Vital Capacity

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