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February 26, 1973

Maximum Breathing Capacity Testing

Author Affiliations

Dublin, Ireland

JAMA. 1973;223(9):1044. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220090064027

To the Editor.—  Most lung function laboratories, including those in countries where there is an appreciable emigration to America, are frequently requested to carry out spirometric studies for the evaluation of pulmonary disability according to Social Security Regulations issued by the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (No. 4 Subpart P).The two measurements that are requested are the one-second forced expiratory volume (FEV1), and either the maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV) or the maximum breathing capacity (MBC). The regulations state that, "the MVV or the MBC reported should represent the observed value and should not be calculated from the FEV1."The usual method of performing a test for the MBC is for the subject to "breathe as hard and as fast as possible," and the test is continued for 10 to 30 seconds.1 Other workers have proposed that the term should be reserved for the theoretical