Ventilatory function among healthy young Saudi adults: a comparison with Caucasian reference values

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Background: Ethnic differences in lung function are recognized. However, most of the modern lung function equipments are pre-programmed with Caucasian reference values.

Objective: Measure spirometric values among healthy Saudi male and female adults and compare with the Caucasian reference values in a standard spirometer.

Methods: Thirty healthy Saudi young adults (15 males and 15 females; mean age 25 years) participated in this study. Forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), FEV1/FVC (%), and maximal voluntary ventilation (MVV) were recorded using a portable digital spirometer.

Results: Mean values of FVC, FEV1, FEV1/FVC (%) and MVV for the Saudi subjects were significantly lower than the Caucasians predicted values.

Conclusion: Interpretation of lung function tests of Saudi subjects based on the Caucasian prediction equations is generally not valid, as the parameters of lung function tests in Saudi subjects are lower than the Caucasian reference values. The present results underline an urgent need for larger studies to develop prediction equations based on normative spirometric values for Saudi population involving subjects of all ages and both genders living in different climates of the country.

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