Consensus statement for inert gas washout measurement using multiple- and single- breath tests
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Inert gas washout tests, performed using the single- or multiple-breath washout technique, were first described over 60 years ago. As measures of ventilation distribution inhomogeneity, they offer complementary information to standard lung function tests, such as spirometry, as well as improved feasibility across wider age ranges and improved sensitivity in the detection of early lung damage. These benefits have led to a resurgence of interest in these techniques from manufacturers, clinicians and researchers, yet detailed guidelines for washout equipment specifications, test performance and analysis are lacking. This manuscript provides recommendations about these aspects, applicable to both the paediatric and adult testing environment, whilst outlining the important principles that are essential for the reader to understand. These recommendations are evidence based, where possible, but in many places represent expert opinion from a working group with a large collective experience in the techniques discussed. Finally, the important issues that remain unanswered are highlighted. By addressing these important issues and directing future research, the hope is to facilitate the incorporation of these promising tests into routine clinical practice.
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