The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2012 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Michael J. Morris, Anthony A. Cochet, Pedro F. Lucero, Lisa L. Zacher; Pulmonary/Critical Care Service, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, TX

Background: The objective of this study is to determine a difference in the proportion of reported supranormal pulmonary function tests between active duty military personnel and their non-active duty population. Up to 25% of the pulmonary evaluations performed on these soldiers presenting with dyspnea are normal. Given the emphasis on cardiovascular fitness in the military, some clinicians have hypothesized that this leads to an increase in the number of supranormal PFTs. We hypothesized that a comparison of PFTs performed in the military medical system would identify no difference in the ratio of supranormal to normal PFTs between the active duty and non-active duty population. Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted of all beneficiaries who underwent pulmonary function testing at Brooke Army Medical Center from 2006-2011. Patients were included in the analysis with either an FVC or FEV1 >115% predicted and both values greater than 100% predicted. Comparative analysis was performed for patients ages 18 to 50 based on active duty status. Further analysis was performed on all ages to determine the distribution of findings. Results: A total of 13,609 interpreted pulmonary function tests were queried. Of those, 4303 were active duty patients; 9306 were non-active duty patients. From the total PFTs, 912 (6.7%) were identified as supranormal. When subdivided, 175(12.4%) of non-active duty patients age 18-50 were supranormal; 356(4.7%) of non-active duty patients age >50 were supranormal; and 381(9.4%) of active duty age 18-50 were supranormal. Conclusions: The results of this study, based on pulmonary function testing dating back to 2006, reveals no significant difference in the proportion of supranormal to normal PFTs in the active duty population over the non-active duty population. Based on these findings, we conclude that no assumption should be made that supranormal pulmonary function is more common in military personnel. These results also indicate that the interpretation of normal PFTs in active duty personnel undergoing evaluation for dyspnea should not differ from the civilian patient base. Sponsored Research - None PFT Values