Technical and Functional Assessment of 10 Office Spirometers
There is a clear need for early diagnosis of COPD. This lung disease is one of the leading causes of mortality and disability in developed countries, and only smoking cessation has proven its efficacy in changing the natural evolution of COPD. One major problem with early detection of COPD is the fact that smokers rarely complain even if they have dyspnea. However, lung function changes are often detectable > 10 years before onset of dyspnea at rest. Therefore, according to a consensus statement from the National Lung Health Education Program, the screening of asymptomatic at-risk populations should start from the age of 45 years, The screening by general practitioners (GPs) using office spirometry can double the number of early diagnoses in COPD patients.
Therefore, primary care providers should be encouraged to perform good quality spirometry. For that, a good spirometer is as important as good training. Previous studies were conducted to assess the quality of some handheld spirometers. These studies usually compared one small spirometer with a conventional spirometer, and some found significant differences between the devices. However, small electronic spirometers constantly improve, and it is difficult to have a precise opinion on the quality of all the models present on the market. Moreover, the poor technical quality of some office spirometers may be an obstacle for routine clinical use and for the interchangeability of the measurements. According to their manufacturers, the majority of the modern office spirometers do not require a daily calibration check. If this were true, it would represent an advantage because calibration checks are seldom carried out in general practice. The aims of the present study were to assess the technical properties and the user friendliness of 10 spirometers devoted for use in general practice, and to compare the results with standard diagnostic spirometers.
In 2002, we asked the sales representatives of office spirometers available in Belgium to propose one or two models for use in general practice. The sales representatives of the office spirometers were first contacted through GlaxoSmithKline Belgium. Table 1 presents the 10 devices tested, their type of flow sensor, and their manufacturers.
Table 1—The Office Spirometers Tested, Characteristics of Their Flow Sensor, and Manufacturers
|Models||Flow Sensor||Software||Manufacturer, Country|
|Datospir 120||Heated Fleisch||Sibelmed W-20||Sibelmed, Spain|
|Datospir 70||Turbine||Sibelmed W-10||Sibelmed, Spain|
|EasyOne||Disposable ultrasonic||EasyWare||NDD, Switzerland|
|Microloop||Turbine||Spida 5||Micro Medical, United Kingdom|
|OneFlow||Nonheated, differential pressure||OneFlow soft 1.2||Clement Clarke, United Kingdom|
|Pneumotrac||Nonheated Fleisch||Spirotrac IV||Vitalograph, United Kingdom|
|Simplicity||Disposable plastic screen||None||Puritan Bennett, United States|
|Spirobank||Turbine||WinspiroPRO||Medical International Research, Italy|
|SpiroPro||Nonheated, differential pressure||SpiroPro for Windows||SensorMedics, United States|
|SpiroStar||Disposable plastic screen||Spiro2000 1.5.2||Medikro, Finland|
Tags: comparative study, COPD detection, pulmonary function tests, spirometer, spirometry