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Keywords:

  • complex lung function testing;
  • lung and airway mechanics;
  • obstructive airways disease;
  • respiratory structure and function

ABSTRACT

Pulmonary function testing is part of routine clinical practice in respiratory medicine. It is based around spirometry, which will remain the central measurement of lung function given its prognostic significance and its integral role in defining severity of airways disease. However, there is an increasing body of evidence from studies using new methods of lung function measurement which are providing new insights into pathophysiology of disease. This body of data is forming a basis for their future clinical role, once the economics of producing the relevant devices becomes attractive. The forced oscillation technique and multiple breath nitrogen washout are currently the most commonly used of the newer lung function techniques, which are refinements of long-established techniques. Optical coherence tomography, optical reflection, electrical impedance and vibration response imaging have arisen by development of novel devices. The recent use of these techniques is reviewed.