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November 1983

Pulmonary Function Testing: What Is 'Normal'?

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Medicine, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Arch Intern Med. 1983;143(11):2123-2127. doi:10.1001/archinte.1983.00350110109023

• For many years, confusion has existed concerning the normal range for pulmonary function test results. Using statistical guidelines that have been traditionally applied to the interpretation of measured forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), we have redefined normal limits for the most common pulmonary function test values, including those for FVC, FEV1, mean forced expiratory flow during the middle half of the FVC, FEV1, as a proportion of FVC, residual volume, functional residual capacity, total lung capacity, diffusion capacity, maximum voluntary ventilation, and peak expiratory flow. Our goal is to provide a simple and consistent scheme for interpretation of pulmonary function test data. We consider the assumptions used to achieve this simplification to be reasonable, as long as their limitations are understood.

(Arch Intern Med 1983;143:2123-2127)

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