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Comparison of spirometric thresholds in diagnosing smoking-related airflow obstruction
  1. Martin R Miller
  1. Correspondence to Professor M R Miller, Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK; m.r.miller{at}

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The recent paper in Thorax by Bhatt et al 1 asserted that using the lower limit of normal (LLN) for FEV1/FVC to define airflow obstruction in the diagnosis of COPD fails to identify a number of patients with significant pulmonary pathology that are identified by using a fixed ratio for FEV1/FVC. However, they have not adequately proven that significant pulmonary pathology was being detected by using the fixed ratio. The authors first suggest that the LLN standard for defining airflow limitation from FEV1/FVC has not been clinically validated for lack of a gold standard. They then use CT-detected emphysema as a gold standard reference to judge …

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