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Effects of temperature on Vitalograph spirometer readings.
  1. W H Perks,
  2. T Sopwith,
  3. D Brown,
  4. C H Jones,
  5. M Green

    Abstract

    Spirometric variables were obtained from nine symptomless subjects, who performed forced expiratory manoeuvres with three Vitalograph spirometers at three different ambient temperatures (36.5 degrees C, 24.1 degrees C, and - 7.3 degrees C) over three days according to a Latin square design. Analysis of variance showed no significant difference between values at different ambient temperatures when measured at ATPS. Correction of the results to BTPS resulted in a significant difference in values at the three ambient temperatures for all measurements other than the Vmax25. The mean error introduced by conversion to BTPS varied from 7% (SD 5%) for the FVC at 24.1 degrees C to 30% (21%) for Vmax50 at - 7.3 degrees C. Possible explanations for these observations include the increasing compliance of the spirometer bellows with increasing temperature, relatively slow cooling of gases within the spirometer, and a combination of these effects. We conclude that there is no evidence that conversion to BTPS improves the accuracy of measurements made on a Vitalograph spirometer. Further studies on other spirometers are needed to see whether conversion to BTPS is always appropriate.

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