Continuous longitudinal regression equations for pulmonary function measures

D. L. Sherrill, M. D. Lebowitz, R. J. Knudson, B. Burrows

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


The data from a longitudinal population study in Tucson, Arizona, were used to describe the development and decline of maximal expiratory flow-volume (MEFV) measures with age. On the basis of their answers to self-administerd questionnaires, in 9 of the first 10 surveys (1972-1988) and have performed at least one MEFV test, 930 nonsmoking healthy subjects were selected, providing 3,848 individual observations. The data were analysed using statistical methods that yield continuous piecewise linear regression equations and allow subjects to have repeated measures which are unequally spaced and at different times for different subjects. In addition, the age intervals for the piecewise linear line segments are estimated for each of the MEFV indices, as part of the modelling procedure. The resulting predicted values are compared between sexes and to previously published cross-sectional results from the same population. All MEFV measures in healthy subjects have an early increase in the rate of development corresponding to the onset of the adolescent growth spurt. This rapid growth period is followed by a plateau phase which lasts around 10 yrs for forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) in males, in which growth continues, but at a much lower rate. The plateau phase is followed by a constant rate of decline which lasts throughout adulthood. In contrast, flow measures did not have a detectable plateau period, but did have points of increased rate of decline much later in life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)452-462
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992


  • Growth
  • Longitudinal analysis
  • Reference values
  • Spirometry
  • Vital capacity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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