Predicted values for closing volumes using a modified single breath nitrogen test

A. S. Buist, B. B. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

227 Scopus citations


The measurement of closing volumes has been proposed as a simple and sensitive test of small airway function. Prediction formulas for closing volumes, obtained from a large number of asymptomatic, nonsmoking adults have not thus far been reported. Closing volumes were measured in 284 asymptomatic, nonsmoking adults using a modification of the single breath nitrogen test. Data from these subjects were then used to derive prediction formulas for closing volume expressed as a percentage of vital capacity and for closing capacity expressed as a percentage of total lung capacity. These formulas confirmed the findings of others that closing volumes appear to increase linearly with age, presumably because of loss in lung elastic recoil. The advantages of the modified single breath nitrogen test are its suitability for use as a screening test and in epidemiologic studies because it does not require equipment that is either extremely costly or technically difficult to operate and its possible use for computing total lung capacity, thus providing a quick and simple way of measuring residual volume.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)744-752
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1973

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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