Comparison of Multiple Breath Washout and Spirometry in Children with Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia and Cystic Fibrosis and Healthy Controls

Bre Anna Kinghorn, Sharon McNamara, Alan Genatossio, Erin Sullivan, Margaret Rosenfeld, Molly Siegel, Irma Bauer, J. Pittman, Charles Clem, Stephanie D. Davis, Robin C. Johnson, Miriam Davis, Stephanie D. Davis, Margaret W. Leigh

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16 Scopus citations


Rationale: In cystic fibrosis (CF), the lung clearance index (LCI), derived from multiple breath washout (MBW), is more sensitive in detecting early lung disease than FEV1; MBW has been less thoroughly evaluated in young patients with primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD). Objectives: Our objectives were 1) to evaluate the sensitivity of MBW and spirometry for the detection of mild lung disease in young children with PCD and CF compared with healthy control (HC) subjects and 2) to compare patterns of airway obstruction between disease populations. Methods: We used a multicenter, single-visit, observational study in children with PCD and CF with a forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) greater than 60% predicted and HC subjects, ages 3-12 years. Nitrogen MBW and spirometry were performed and overread for acceptability. x2 and Kruskall-Wallis tests compared demographics and lung function measures between groups, linear regression evaluated the effect of disease state, and Spearman's rank correlation coefficient compared the LCI and spirometric measurements. Results: Twenty-five children with PCD, 49 children with CF, and 80 HC children were enrolled, among whom 17 children with PCD (68%), 36 children with CF (73%), and 53 (66%) HC children performed both acceptable spirometry and MBW; these children made up the analytic cohort. The median age was 9.0 years (interquartile range [IQR], 6.8-11.1). The LCI was abnormal (more than 7.8) in 10 of 17 (59%) patients with PCD and 21 of 36 (58%) patients with CF, whereas FEV1 was abnormal in three of 17 (18%) patients with PCD and six of 36 (17%) patients with CF. The LCI was significantly elevated in patients with PCDand CF compared withHC subjects (ratio of geometric mean vs. HC: PCD 1.27; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.15-1.39; and CF 1.24; 95% CI, 1.15-1.33]). Children with PCD had lower midexpiratory-phase forced expiratory flow % predicted compared with children with CF (62% [IQR, 50-78%] vs. 85% [IQR, 68-99%]; P = 0.05). LCI did not correlate with FEV1. Conclusions: The LCI is more sensitive than FEV1 in detecting lung disease in young patients with PCD, similar to CF. LCI holds promise as a sensitive endpoint for the assessment of early PCD lung disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1085-1093
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Lung clearance index
  • Lung function
  • Multiple breath washout
  • Primary ciliary dyskinesia


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