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Keywords:

  • athletes ;
  • Bland;
  • Altman analysis ;
  • forced expiratory volume in 1 s ;
  • general population ;
  • spirometry ;
  • vital capacity

Abstract

Purpose

Lung development and consequently, lung volumes, are affected by the duration, type and intensity of sporting. Athletes may have higher spirometric values compared to predicted which may lead to misclassification of this population and misdiagnosis during clinical evaluation. The aim of the study was to compare measured spirometric values with those predicted from the European Community for Steel and Coal statement in Greek professional athletes.

Methods

Measured and predicted spirometric values were recorded from 276 normal professional athletes (168 males, 108 females), aged 15–60 years originated from the metropolitan area of Athens, Greece. Predicted and measured spirometric values were compared using a paired sample t-test and analysed using Bland–Altman method.

Results

Measured FEV1 was 109.6 (1.02%) and 109.4 (1.29%) and FVC was 110.8 (1.07%) and 109.6 (1.02%) compared to predicted in males and females respectively. The FEV1/FVC ratio was 102.2 (0.55%) and 103.2 (0.58%) compared to predicted for males and females, respectively. Bland–Altman analysis revealed a significant bias and magnitude of difference between predicted and measured spirometric values.

Conclusions

European Community for Steel and Coal predicted spirometric values significantly underestimated measured lung volumes and FEV1/FVC ratio in Greek athletes of both sexes. Predicted spirometric indices should be used with caution in the evaluation of athletes presenting with respiratory symptoms for the risk of underestimation of restrictive disease or airway obstruction.