BACKGROUND: Comparability of multiple breath washout (MBW) systems has been little explored. We assessed agreement in lung clearance index (LCI) from two similar, commercial nitrogen MBW setups in patients with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and controls.
METHODS: The EasyOne Pro (NDD) and Exhalyzer D (EM) were randomly applied in 85 adults (34 with CF) and 97 children (47 with CF and normal forced expiratory volume in one second). We assessed differences between setups in LCI, lung volumes and breathing pattern and diagnostic performance for detecting abnormal lung function.
RESULTS: Compared to NDD, EM measured higher LCI, functional residual capacity and cumulative expired volume while respiratory rate was lower. Mean difference (limits of agreement) in LCI was 1.30 (-2.34 to 4.94). In CF, prevalence of abnormal LCI was greater in children and similar in adults using EM compared to NDD.
CONCLUSIONS: Agreement of MBW outcomes between setups is poor and explained by nitrogen measurement techniques and breathing pattern.