This fourth paper in a review series on the role of lung function testing in infants and young children with acute neonatal disorders and chronic lung disease of infancy (CLDI) addresses measurements of forced expiration using rapid thoraco-abdominal compression (RTC) techniques and the forced deflation technique. Following orientation of the reader to the subject area, we focus our comments on the areas of inquiry proposed in the introductory paper to this series. The quality of the published literature is reviewed critically, and recommendations are provided to guide future investigation in this field. All studies on infants and young children with CLDI using forced expiratory or deflation maneuvers demonstrated that forced flows at low lung volume remain persistently low through the first 3 years of life. Measurement of maximal flow at functional residual capacity (V′maxFRC) is the most commonly used method for assessing airway function in infants, but is highly dependent on lung volume and airway tone. Recent studies suggested that the raised volume RTC technique, which assesses lung function over an extended volume range as in older children, may be a more sensitive means of discriminating changes in airway function in infants with respiratory disease. The forced deflation technique allows investigation of pulmonary function during the early development of CLDI in intubated subjects, but its invasive nature precludes its use in the routine setting. For all techniques, there is an urgent need to establish suitable reference data and evaluate within- and between-occasion repeatability, prior to establishing the clinical usefulness of these techniques in assessing baseline airway function and/or response to interventions in subjects with CLDI.

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Pediatric Pulmonology
Department of Pediatrics

Lum, S., Hülskamp, G., Merkus, P., Baraldi, E., Hofhuis, W., & Stocks, J. (2006). Lung function tests in neonates and infants with chronic lung disease: Forced expiratory maneuvers. Pediatric Pulmonology (Vol. 41, pp. 199–214). doi:10.1002/ppul.20320