Tidal breathing parameters measured by structured light plethysmography in children aged 2–12 years recovering from acute asthma/wheeze compared with healthy children

Published in Physiological Reports 2018

Authors Hamzah Hmeidi, Shayan Motamedi-Fakhr, Edward K. Chadwick, Francis J. Gilchrist, Warren Lenney, Richard Iles, Rachel C. Wilson & John Alexander

Measurement of lung function can be difficult in young children. Structured light plethysmography (SLP) is a novel, noncontact method of measuring tidal breathing that monitors displacement of the thoraco–abdominal wall. SLP was used to compare breathing in children recovering from an acute exacerbation of asthma/wheeze and an age-matched cohort of controls. Children aged 2–12 years with acute asthma/wheeze (n = 39) underwent two 5-min SLP assessments, one before bronchodilator treatment and one after. SLP was performed once in controls (n = 54). Nonparametric comparisons of patients to healthy children and of pre-bronchodilator to post-bronchodilator were made for all children, and also stratified by age group (2–5 vs. 6–12 years old). In the asthma/wheeze group, IE50SLP (inspiratory to expiratory flow ratio) was higher (median 1.47 vs. 1.31; P = 0.002), thoraco–abdominal asynchrony (TAA) and left–right asynchrony were greater (both P < 0.001), and respiratory rate was faster (P < 0.001) than in controls. All other timing indices were shorter and displayed reduced variability (all P < 0.001). Variability in time to peak inspiratory flow was also reduced (P < 0.001). Younger children showed a greater effect than older children for TAA (interaction P < 0.05). After bronchodilator treatment, the overall cohort showed a reduction in withinsubject variability in time to peak expiratory flow only (P < 0.001). Younger children exhibited a reduction in relative contribution of the thorax, TAA, and variability in TAA (interaction P < 0.05). SLP can be successfully performed in young children. The potential of SLP to monitor diseases such as asthma in children is worthy of further investigation