Correlation of Impulse Oscillometry with Spirometry in Deployed Military Personnel with Airway Obstruction

Mateo C. Houle, Christian T. Cavacece, Michael A. Gonzales, Jess T. Anderson, John C. Hunninghake, Aaron B. Holley, Michael J. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Introduction: Evaluation of chronic respiratory symptoms in deployed military personnel has been conducted at Brooke Army Medical Center as part of the Study of Active Duty Military for Pulmonary Disease Related to Environmental Deployment Exposures III study. Although asthma and airway hyperreactivity have been the most common diagnoses, the clinical findings in these patients may be multifactorial. This study aims to evaluate the utility of impulse oscillometry (IOS) in diagnosing airway obstruction in patients undergoing multiple pulmonary function testing (PFT) studies. Methods: Military personnel referred for deployed-related pulmonary symptoms underwent a standardized evaluation at Brooke Army Medical Center and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center over a 5-year span. Initial studies included laboratory tests, high-resolution computed tomography imaging, cardiac evaluation with electrocardiogram, and echocardiography. PFT consisted of full PFTs, forced inspiratory/expiratory pressures, post-spirometry bronchodilator testing, IOS, exhaled nitric oxide, and methacholine challenge testing. Results: A total of 360 patients have completed an evaluation to date. In this cohort, 108 patients (30.0%) have evidence of obstruction by spirometry, whereas 74 (20.6%) had IOS values of both an R5 > 150% and X5 < −1.5. Only 32 (8.9%) had evidence of obstruction by both spirometry and IOS, whereas 210 (57.3%) had neither. A comparison among R5 (resistance at 5 Hz), R20 (resistance at 20 Hz), and X5 (reactance at 5 Hz) was performed in those individuals with and without spirometric obstruction. R5 (% predicted) was 156.2 ± 57.4% (obstruction) vs. 129.1 ± 39.6% (no obstruction) (P < .001); R20 (% predicted) was 138.1 ± 37.7% (obstruction) vs. 125.3 ± 31.2% (no obstruction) (P = .007); and X5 (cmH2O/L/s) was −1.62 ± 1.28 (obstruction) vs. −1.25 ± 0.55 (no obstruction) (P < .001). Discussion: Impulse oscillometry has been advocated as a supplemental pulmonary function test to aid in the diagnosis of airway obstruction. The use of IOS has been primarily used in pediatrics and elderly populations as a validated tool to establish a diagnosis of airway obstruction but is limited in the adult population because of a well-validated set of reference values. Prior studies in adults have most often demonstrated a correlation with an elevated R5 > 150%, elevated resonant frequency, and a negative X5 < −1.5 or a decrease of 30 to 35% in R5 post-bronchodilator. Conclusion: Impulse oscillometry may serve as an adjunct to diagnosis but likely cannot replace a standard spirometric evaluation. Our study highlights the future utility for diagnosing early obstructive disease in the symptomatic individual.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-406
Number of pages7
JournalMilitary Medicine
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2023


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