The reference equations and diagnostic criteria play a critical role in the interpretation of pulmonary function tests (PFTs). The aim was to investigate the impacts of different reference equations and diagnostic criteria on the frequency of airway obstruction in adult people of a large teaching hospital of North China.
The spirometry data of all adult people who underwent PFTs in Qilu hospital from April 2012 to November 2015 were collected. Two spirometry reference equations, namely, Zhongshan-2011 and Global Lung Function Initiative 2012 (GLI-2012) were compared. The frequency of airway obstruction using different spirometry prediction equations and diagnostic criteria including forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1)/forced vital capacity (FVC) <92% of predicted value and FEV1/FVC <lower limits of normal (LLN) were investigated.
A total of 57,888 subjects were recruited with a mean age of 55.5 ± 13.72. There were significant differences in LLN and predicted value between the GLI-2012 and Zhongshan-2011. The average age of those who had an LLN of FEV1/FVC below 0.7 was 66.59 ± 6.05 years using GLI-2012, which was significantly lower than that in Zhongshan-2011 (77.46±2.63, P<0.001). Using FEV1/FVC<LLN as diagnostic criteria, Zhongshan-2011 identifies more obstructive subjects than GLI-2012 in each age group. In 45–59 or 60–80 age group, more participants were defined as obstructive using FEV1/FVC<92%pred than FEV1/FVC<LLN (both P<0.001).