Objective Spirometric Z scores by lambda-mu-sigma (LMS) rigorously account for age-related changes in lung function. Recently, the Global Lung Function Initiative (GLI) expanded LMS spirometric Z scores to multiple ethnicities. Hence, in aging populations, the GLI provides an opportunity to rigorously evaluate ethnic differences in respiratory impairment, including airflow limitation and restrictive pattern. Methods Using data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, including participants aged 40-80, we evaluated ethnic differences in GLI-defined respiratory impairment, including prevalence and associations with mortality and respiratory symptoms. Results Among 3506 white Americans, 1860 African Americans and 1749 Mexican Americans, the prevalence of airflow limitation was 15.1% (13.9% to 16.4%), 12.4% (10.7% to 14.0%) and 8.2% (6.7% to 9.8%), and restrictive pattern was 5.6% (4.6% to 6.5%), 8.0% 6.9% to 9.0%) and 5.7% (4.5% to 6.9%), respectively. Airflow limitation was associated with mortality in white Americans, African Americans and Mexican Americans - adjusted HR (aHR) 1.66 (1.23 to 2.25), 1.60 (1.09 to 2.36) and 1.80 (1.17 to 2.76), respectively, but associated with respiratory symptoms only in white Americans - adjusted OR (aOR) 2.15 (1.70 to 2.73). Restrictive pattern was associated with mortality but only in white Americans and African Americans - aHR 2.56 (1.84 to 3.55) and 3.23 (2.06 to 5.05), and associated with respiratory symptoms but only in white Americans and Mexican Americans-aOR 2.16 (1.51 to 3.07) and .12 (1.45 to 3.08), respectively. Conclusions In an aging population, we found ethnic differences in GLI-defined respiratory impairment. In particular, African Americans had high rates of respiratory impairment that were associated with mortality but not respiratory symptoms.

dx.doi.org/10.1136/thoraxjnl-2013-203631, hdl.handle.net/1765/63668
Thorax: an international journal of respiratory medicine
Department of Pediatrics

Vaz Fragoso, C.A, McAvay, G, Gill, T.M, Concato, J, Quanjer, P.H, & van Ness, P.H. (2014). Ethnic differences in respiratory impairment. Thorax: an international journal of respiratory medicine, 69(1), 55–62. doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2013-203631