Predictors of longitudinal change in diffusing capacity over 8 years

Duane L. Sherrill, Paul L. Enright, Walter T. Kaltenborn, Michael D. Lebowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Low single-breath diffusing capacity (DL(CO)) values are associated with anatomic emphysema, but the predictors of longitudinal change in DL(CO) over many years are unknown. Study subjects were adult participants in the longitudinal Tucson Epidemiology Study of Obstructive Lung Disease who had at least one DL(CO) measurement during either of two surveys 8 yr apart (n = 543). Smoking status was determined at each examination (current, former, or never smoker). Quitters were defined as those currently smoking at the baseline DL(CO) examination (1982-1983) and self-reported as no longer smoking at the follow-up exam (1990-1991). The longitudinal DL(CO) data were analyzed using repeated measures analysis; because of missing observations this was done using a saturated random effects model. The results showed that males had higher levels of DL(CO) than females, current smokers had significantly lower levels of DL(CO) than never smokers, but there was no difference in their mean slopes over time. Smoking history, assessed using pack-years of smoking, was associated with reduced DL(CO) levels, independent of whether current or ex-smokers. Males and females demonstrated equivalent rates of decline in DL(CO) that accelerated with increasing age, and mean DL(CO) declines were associated with declines in FEV1 between surveys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1883-1887
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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