Pulmonary Function Tests in Asthma


Asthma is one of the most prevalent and heterogenous disease entities . The prevalence of this disease is different in various parts of the world; and is more prevalent in developed , industrialiesed countries than under-developed places. In IR-IRAN, according to few surveys with ISAAC protocol, the estimated prevalence is between developed and under-developed countries . Due to low sensitivity and specificity of symptoms and signs in diagnosis and severity staging of asthma pulmonary function test are frequently used for mainly:

  1) Diagnosis of various subtypes of asthma,
Differntial diagnosis of asthma from other asthma-like, or overlapped conditions,
 Severity staging and monitoring of treatment response.

Due to heterogenous nature of asthma, and absence of single test for determination of all physiologic and pathophysiologic events of respiratory system in asthmatics , a stepwise approach is indicated for diagnosis of asthma subtypes and in differntial diagnosis of asthma from asthma-like or over-lapped conditions. In staging asthma severity and planning of management protocols, application of symptom scores with simple tests like PEF.FEV1,FVC is sufficient in most patients .  These simple tests also is indicated for home self-management of patients with good reproducible results. Although the value of PEF,and home spirometry has been questioned recently in asthmatic children .The clinical indications, and pros and cons of various compartments of pulmonary function tests are briefly reviewed regarding clinical pictures of asthma.


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