NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE)

Improving the diagnosis of lung disease in Western Indian communities

Research to determine normal spirometry predictive values for the Western Indian adult population will transform how respiratory diseases are diagnosed in the region.

The study was conducted by King Edward Memorial Hospital Research Centre (KEMHRC) as part of the RESPIRE collaboration.

More data needed to inform predicted values

Spirometry is a simple and common test of lung function, measuring how much air you inhale, how much you exhale and how quickly you exhale. It is a crucial tool in the diagnosis of respiratory disease.

The interpretation of spirometry involves comparing results against predicted values, to determine the presence and severity of disease.

Developed by the Global Lung Function Initiative (GLI), predicted values are based on healthy individuals from multiple populations. However, the GLI have highlighted India as a “particular group” for whom further data are needed.

Responding to this lack of data, research conducted by KEMHRC sought to develop predictive values for the Western Indian population.

Use of existing normal values may result in misdiagnosis

The study found that the Western Indian adult population appears to have lower lung volumes compared to European-Americans or populations from Northern India. Therefore, using GLI normal values could be misleading in this population, and lead to the overdiagnosis of lung disease.

Using spirometry predictive values developed specifically for the Western Indian population could prevent these issues, potentially transforming the diagnosis and management of lung conditions in the region.

Data from the study is being shared with the GLI, and KEMHRC are approaching other Indian sites for spirometry data to estimate these values for other Indian sub-groups.

Read the paper

View the paper in the European Respiratory Journal

Find out more about the study