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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Pulmonary Medicine 1/2015

Lung function changes from childhood to adolescence: a seven-year follow-up study

BMC Pulmonary Medicine > Ausgabe 1/2015
Pavilio Piccioni, Roberta Tassinari, Aurelia Carosso, Carlo Carena, Massimiliano Bugiani, Roberto Bono
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

PP contributed to ideation and design the study, to data acquisition and their interpretation. RT has contributed to the design of the study and interpretation of data, written the paper and collected the larger part of data. AC and CC have written the paper, contributed to the interpretation of data and revised the paper critically for important intellectual content. MB: performed statistical analysis and contributed to the interpretation of data. RB: contributed substantially to the design of the study, to writing and critically revise the manuscript, and to contributing with important intellectual content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Authors’ information

PP is a MD and he has a PhD in Pneumology and Occupational Health
RT is biologist, Public Health specialist, and a PhD student
AC is a MD and has a PhD in Allergology
CC is a MD and has a PhD in Pneumology
MB is a MD, has a PhD in Pneumology, Occupational Health and Allergology, and is a Statistician
RB is a PhD in Public Health, is professor of Environmental and Occupational Health.



As part of an investigation into the respiratory health in children conducted in Torino, northwestern Italy, our aim was to assess development in lung function from childhood to adolescence, and to assess changes or persistence of asthma symptoms on the change of lung function parameters. Furthermore, the observed lung function data were compared with the Global Lung Function Initiative (GLI) reference values.


We conducted a longitudinal study, which lasted 7 years, composed by first survey of 4–5 year-old children in 2003 and a follow-up in 2010. Both surveys consisted in collecting information on health by standardized SIDRIA questionnaire and spirometry testing with FVC, FEV1, FEV1/FVC% and FEF25–75 measurements.


242 subjects successfully completed both surveys. In terms of asthma symptoms (AS = asthma attacks or wheezing in the previous 12 months), 191/242 were asymptomatic, 13 reported AS only in the first survey (early transient), 23 had AS only in the second survey (late onset), and 15 had AS in both surveys (persistent). Comparing the lung function parameters observed with the predicted by GLI only small differences were detected, except for FVC and FEF25–75, for which more than 5% of subjects had Z-score values beyond the Z-score normal limits. Furthermore, as well as did not significantly affect developmental changes in FVC and FEV1, the decrease in FEV1/FVC ratio was significantly higher in subjects with AS at the time of follow-up (late onset and persistent phenotypes) while the increase in FEF25–75 was significantly smaller in subjects with persistent AS (p < 0.05).


The GLI equations are valid in evaluating lung function during development, at least in terms of lung volume measurements. Findings also suggest that the FEF25–75 may be a useful tool for clinical and epidemiological studies of childhood asthma.
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