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24.03.2020 | RESPIRATORY PHYSIOLOGY | Ausgabe 3/2020 Open Access

Lung 3/2020

Area Under the Expiratory Flow–Volume Curve (AEX): Assessing Bronchodilator Responsiveness

Lung > Ausgabe 3/2020
Octavian C. Ioachimescu, James K. Stoller
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Area under expiratory flow–volume curve (AEX) is a useful spirometric tool in stratifying respiratory impairment. The AEX approximations based on isovolumic flows can be used with reasonable accuracy when AEX is unavailable. We assessed here pre- to post-bronchodilator (BD) variability of AEX4 as a functional assessment tool for lung disorders.


The BD response was assessed in 4330 subjects by changes in FEV1, FVC, and AEX4, which were derived from FVC, peak expiratory flow, and forced expiratory flow at 25%, 50%, and 75% FVC. Newly proposed BD response categories (negative, minimal, mild, moderate and marked) have been investigated in addition to standard criteria.


Using standard BD criteria, 24% of subjects had a positive response. Using the new BD response categories, only 23% of subjects had a negative response; 45% minimal, 18% mild, 9% moderate, and 5% had a marked BD response. Mean percent change of the square root AEX4 was 0.3% and 14.3% in the standard BD-negative and BD-positive response groups, respectively. In the new BD response categories of negative, minimal, mild, moderate, and marked, mean percent change of square root AEX4 was − 8.2%, 2.9%, 9.2%, 15.0%, and 24.8%, respectively.


Mean pre- to post-BD variability of AEX4 was < 6% and stratified well between newly proposed categories of BD response (negative, minimal, mild, moderate and marked). We suggest that AEX4 (AEX) could become a useful measurement for stratifying dysfunction in obstructive lung disease and invite further investigation into indications for using bronchodilator agents or disease-modifying, anti-inflammatory therapies.

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