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The accuracy of a handheld "disposable pneumotachograph device" in the spirometric diagnosis of airway obstruction in a Chinese population

Authors Chen G, Jiang L, Wang L, Zhang W, Castillo C, Fang X

Received 20 March 2018

Accepted for publication 8 June 2018

Published 2 August 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 2351—2360

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S168583

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Chunxue Bai


Guojun Chen,1,* Longyuan Jiang,1,* Liwen Wang,1 Wei Zhang,2 Carlos Castillo,3,4 Xiangshao Fang1

1Department of Emergency Medicine, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China; 2Department of Respiratory Medicine, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China; 3Zhang Neuroscience Research Laboratories, School of Medicine, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, USA; 4Bioengineering Department, Gordon and Jill Bourns College of Engineering, California Baptist University, Riverside, CA, USA

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background and aim: It is desirable to facilitate the use of an affordable, reliable, and portable spirometer, for earlier diagnosis of COPD in China, particularly in rural areas. The aim of this study was to assess the agreement of a handheld “disposable pneumotachograph” (D-PNEU) spirometer with the gold standard spirometer and to evaluate its diagnostic accuracy of spirometric classification of airflow obstruction.
Subjects and methods: A total of 241 adult Chinese subjects ranging from healthy to those with mixed levels of pulmonary disease performed spirometry in a conventional body plethysmograph, and using a D-PNEU device in randomized order. The three best spirometric tests were recorded for comparative analysis. A Bland–Altman graph was created to assess the agreement between devices. Using FEV1/FVC <70% as the “gold standard” for obstruction, the accuracy of classifying the severity of airway obstruction for all subjects was assessed. For the specific individuals (n=159) able to exhale for at least 6 seconds, the accuracy of classifying airway obstruction was further assessed. For this purpose, a receiver operating characteristic curve was used to determine an optimal cutoff point of FEV1/FEV6 ratio obtained by the D-PNEU device, which matched the global definition of FEV1/FVC <70% by the traditional spirometer.
Results: The Bland–Altman analysis showed that the between-device agreement for key airflow metrics was within clinically acceptable limits. The D-PNEU device had 87.1% accuracy in the classification of severity of obstruction in all 241 subjects, when using FEV1/FVC <70% as the “gold standard” for both devices. The D-PNEU device had 93.7% accuracy in the 159 individuals able to exhale for at least 6 seconds, when a cutoff point of FEV1/FEV6 was 74%.
Conclusion: A disposable handheld spirometry device is capable of accurately identifying and quantifying airway obstruction in patients deemed to be at risk, however, caution should be exercised and all available brands should be tested.

Keywords: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, handheld spirometry, Bland–Altman method, agreement analysis

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