Survey of clinical infant lung function testing practices.
BACKGROUND: Data supporting the clinical use of infant lung function (ILF) tests are limited making the interpretation of clinical ILF measures difficult. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate current ILF testing practices and to survey users regarding the indications, limitations and perceived clinical benefits of ILF testing. METHODS: We created a 26-item survey hosted on the European Respiratory Society (ERS) website between January and May 2010. Notifications were sent to members of the ERS, American Thoracic Society and the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology. Responses were sought from ILF laboratory directors and pediatric respirologists. The survey assessed the clinical indications, patient populations, equipment and reference data used, and perceived limitations of ILF testing. RESULTS: We received 148 responses with 98 respondents having ILF equipment and performing testing in a clinical capacity. Centers in North America were less likely to perform ≥50 studies/year than centers in Europe or other continents (13% vs. 41%). Most respondents used ILF data to either "start a new therapy" (78%) or "help decide about initiation of further diagnostic workup such as bronchoscopy, chest CT or serological testing" (69%). Factors reported as limiting clinical ILF testing were need for sedation, uncertainty regarding clinical impact of study results and time intensive nature of the study. CONCLUSIONS: Clinical practices associated with ILF testing vary significantly; centers that perform more studies are more likely to use the results for clinical purposes and decision making. The future of ILF testing is uncertain in the face of the limitations perceived by the survey respondents.
Peterson-Carmichael, SL; Rosenfeld, M; Ascher, SB; Hornik, CP; Arets, HGM; Davis, SD; Hall, GL
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