An Official American Thoracic Society Workshop Report: Optimal Lung Function Tests for Monitoring Cystic Fibrosis, Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia, and Recurrent Wheezing in Children Less Than 6 Years of Age
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Although pulmonary function testing plays a key role in the diagnosis and management of chronic pulmonary conditions in children under 6 years of age, objective physiologic assessment is limited in the clinical care of infants and children less than 6 years old, due to the challenges of measuring lung function in this age range. Ongoing research in lung function testing in infants, toddlers, and preschoolers has resulted in techniques that show promise as safe, feasible, and potentially clinically useful tests. Official American Thoracic Society workshops were convened in 2009 and 2010 to review six lung function tests based on a comprehensive review of the literature (infant raised-volume rapid thoracic compression and plethysmography, preschool spirometry, specific airway resistance, forced oscillation, the interrupter technique, and multiple-breath washout). In these proceedings, the current state of the art for each of these tests is reviewed as it applies to the clinical management of infants and children under 6 years of age with cystic fibrosis, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and recurrent wheeze, using a standardized format that allows easy comparison between the measures. Although insufficient evidence exists to recommend incorporation of these tests into the routine diagnostic evaluation and clinical monitoring of infants and young children with cystic fibrosis, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, or recurrent wheeze, they may be valuable tools with which to address specific concerns, such as ongoing symptoms or monitoring response to treatment, and as outcome measures in clinical research studies.