Measurement of bronchial responsiveness by forced oscillation technique in occupational epidemiology.
INSERM Unité 139, Créteil, France.
The performance of the forced oscillation technique (FOT) in the assessment of bronchial responsiveness on the methacholine challenge test was compared with that of forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) in 119 active workers with normal baseline pulmonary function. Changes in resistance (delta R0%), frequency dependence of resistance (delta P) and resonant frequency (delta F%) determined by the FOT were compared to the delta FEV1%. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were established to determine values of the changes in FOT parameters which corresponded to the best sensitivity and specificity for classifying the subjects as hyperresponsive or nonresponsive on the methacholine challenge test. Significant correlations were observed between delta FEV1% and delta R0%, delta P and delta F% respectively. The ROC curves showed the following cut-off values of FOT parameters to be the best values for classifying the subjects according to the presence or absence of 20% fall in FEV1: a 65% increase in R0 (sensitivity 75%; specificity: 76%); a decrease of 65 x 10(-3) hPa.l-1.s2 in P (sensitivity 58%; specificity 83%); a 50% increase in F (sensitivity 75%; specificity 62%). Our results suggest that the FOT is a useful test for assessment of bronchial hyperresponsiveness when compared to spirometry, and can be applied to epidemiological studies of a bronchial challenge test in normal active working populations.