MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Bhatt: The forced vital capacity (FVC) maneuver is a difficult maneuver for many patients and the forced expiratory volume in the first 6 seconds (FEV6) has been shown to be a reliable substitute. We used imaging findings on computed tomography, COPD questionnaires and tests of exercise capacity to compare these two spirometric measures (FEV1/FVC and FEV/FEV6) in the diagnosis of airflow obstruction, and showed that FEV6 can be reliably substituted for FVC. Our findings suggest that using FEV6 may in fact identify more patients with disease than by using FVC.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Bhatt: We expected FEV6 to be a good substitute for FVC. The finding that using FEV6 may in fact identify patients with more respiratory morbidity was unexpected.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Bhatt: FEV1/FEV6 can be reliably substituted for FEV1/FVC in the diagnosis of airflow obstruction. The FEV6 measurement is easier both for patients and for pulmonary function laboratory personnel.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Bhatt: These findings should be tested in a real world scenario where quality control is not as rigorous as in a clinical trial setting. We expect FEV6 to be even more reliable when quality control is not very stringent.