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Spirometry reference values in Indigenous Australians: a systematic review

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Respiratory illnesses are a significant contributor to the morbidity and mortality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) Australians across all ages.1,2 Previous studies have highlighted the high incidence of respiratory disease in Indigenous Australians.3,4 In adults, asthma5 and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)6 are the greatest contributors to the respiratory burden, with Indigenous Australians being 2.4 times more likely than non-Indigenous Australians to require hospitalisation.7

Spirometry is the most common test8 used to aid the diagnosis and management of respiratory diseases. As with all clinical tests, there are standards for performance and interpretation of results.8,9 The latter requires comparing the patient’s spirometry values (forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1] and forced vital capacity [FVC]) against reference values obtained from a representative “healthy” population matched for age, sex, height and ethnicity.9,