Analysis of maximal expiratory flow-volume curves in adult survivors of preterm birth

Yannick Molgat-Seon, Paolo B. Dominelli, Carli M. Peters, Jordan A. Guenette, A. William Sheel, Igor M. Gladstone, Andrew T. Lovering, Joseph W. Duke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Adult survivors of very preterm (≤ 32 wk gestational age) birth without (PRE) and with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) have variable degrees of airflow obstruction at rest. Assessment of the shape of the maximal expiratory flow-volume (MEFV) curve in PRE and BPD may provide information concerning their unique pattern of airflow obstruction. The purposes of the present study were to 1) quantitatively assess the shape of the MEFV curve in PRE, BPD, and healthy adults born at full-term (CON), 2) identify where along the MEFV curve differences in shape existed between groups, and 3) determine the association between an index of MEFV curve shape and characteristics of preterm birth (i.e., gestational age, mass at birth, duration of oxygen therapy) in PRE and BPD. To do so, we calculated the average slope ratio (SR) throughout the effort-independent portion of the MEFV curve and at increments of 5% of forced vital capacity (FVC) between 20 and 80% of FVC in PRE (n = 19), BPD (n =25), and CON (n = 20). We found that average SR was significantly higher in PRE (1.34 ± 0.35) and BPD (1.33 ± 0.45) compared with CON (1.03 ± 0.22; both P < 0.05) but similar between PRE and BPD (P = 0.99). Differences in SR between groups occurred early in expiration (i.e., 20 -30% of FVC). There was no association between SR and characteristics of preterm birth in PRE and BPD groups (all P > 0.05). The mechanism(s) of increased SR during early expiration in PRE/BPD relative to CON is unknown but may be due to differences in the structural and mechanical properties of the airways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R588-R596
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • Expiratory flow limitation
  • Pulmonary function
  • Slope ratio
  • Ventilatory constraints

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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