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Karrasch, Stefan ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9807-2915; Behr, Jürgen; Huber, Rudolf M.; Nowak, Dennis ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7871-8686; Peters, Annette; Peters, Stefan; Holle, Rolf; Jörres, Rudolf A. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9782-1117 and Schulz, Holger (2018): Heterogeneous pattern of differences in respiratory parameters between elderly with either good or poor FEV1. In: BMC Pulmonary Medicine 18:27 [PDF, 473kB]


Background: The relationship of spirometric values to other respiratory and functional parameters in advanced age is not well studied. We assessed this relationship in elderly subjects with either good or poor spirometric parameters to reveal whether different domains of lung function show comparable differences between the two groups. Methods: Among subjects of the population-based KORA-Age cohort (n = 935, 65-90y;51% male) two groups were selected from either the lower (LED;n = 51) or the upper (UED;n = 72) end of the FEV1 distribution. All subjects did not have a history of lung disease and were non-smokers at the time of the study. Measurements included spirometry, body plethysmography, diffusing capacity for NO and CO, respiratory pump function and exhaled NO (FeNO). In addition, 6-min walking distance as a functional overall measure, as well as telomere length of blood leukocytes and serum 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) as potential markers of overall biological ageing and stress were determined. Results: In the majority of parameters, LED subjects showed significantly impaired values compared to UED subjects. Differences in spirometric parameters, airway resistance and respiratory pump function ranged between 10% and more than 90% in terms of predicted values. In contrast, volume-related CO and NO diffusing capacity showed differences between groups of lower than 5%, while telomere length, 8-OHdG and FeNO were similar. This was reflected in the differences in "functional age" as derived from prediction equations. Conclusions: In elderly subjects without a history of lung disease differences in spirometric parameters were associated with differences in other lung-mechanical parameters including body plethysmography but not with differences in volume-corrected gas exchange measures. Thus, the concept of a general "lung age" as suggested by the widespread use of this term in connection with spirometry should be considered with caution.

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