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Respiratory disease is the major cause of morbidity in infants and young children in the UK. It is estimated that up to 40% of infants wheeze during their first year of life. In the pre-school age group respiratory function may be compromised by a wide variety of conditions including:

Paediatric Testing - Emma

  • Chronic recurrent wheeze (asthma)
  • Whooping cough
  • Wheezy bronchitis
  • Neuromuscular weakness
  • Acute or chronic infection

In older children, conditions including skeletal disorders (e.g. kyphoscoliosis) or obstructive airways disease (e.g. cystic fibrosis and asthma) have significant effects on respiratory function.

Performing lung function measurements and interpreting the results with children present their own challenges. The tests utilise the same principles and the measurements are made with the same types of equipment, but there is a definite ‘art’ to performing successful tests,and there are differences in quality control of measurements and interpretation of result.

Lung function tests in children require a successful rapport not just with children over a wide range of ages, but more often than not, require the successful interaction between the general staff and the child’s family.

Paediatric lung function tests are classified for practical purposes into three age ranges:

  • Infant lung function tests are performed in babies up to about 18 months of age
  • Pre-school tests are applicable to young children between about 2 – 5 years
  • School aged children aged 6 – 18 years comprise the third group

The ARTP Education Committee are committed to providing quality training for those who are performing lung function tests in these patients.

Further background information on performing paediatric lung function tests can be obtained by reading the separate chapter in the ARTP Part 1 Handbook.




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