Spirometric studies and arterial blood gas analyses were statistically evaluated in 75 patients with chronic airways obstruction to determine whether any spirometric parameters can predict arterial blood gas status. Radioactive lung scans, both ventilation (using 133Xe gas) and perfusion (using 131I-MAA), were performed in selected patients.
In all 75 patients as one group, no spirometric parameter correlated with resting arterial blood gases. Comparing spirometric values with arterial blood studies during exercise, 5% carbon dioxide breathing and 100% oxygen breathing revealed no consistently predictive correlation coefficients.
Ventilation and perfusion lung scanning revealed that in patients whose ventilation/perfusion (V̇/Q) `match' was good, arterial blood gases approached normal, while hypoxaemia and/or hypercapnia were present when V̇/Q relationships were disturbed.
Spirometry measures static and dynamic lung volumes, reflecting the mechanical and structural status of the lung-bellows system. Arterial blood gas status is conditioned by severe factors, including V̇/Q relationship, and can be determined accurately only by measurement in each individual patient.
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