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Revista chilena de enfermedades respiratorias

versión On-line ISSN 0717-7348


CAVIEDES S, IVÁN et al. Standardization of the single-breath diffusing capacity. Rev. chil. enferm. respir. [online]. 2014, vol.30, n.3, pp.145-155. ISSN 0717-7348.

Since its introduction in clinical practice carbon monoxide diffusing capacity (DLCO), has been widely used in respiratory diseases, being the most common test utilized after spirometry in pulmonary function laboratories. It represents the entire diffusion process including transport through the alveolar-capillary barrier and hemoglobin binding. Its high affinity with hemoglobin and its near zero partial pressure in plasma determines that CO transfer depends specifically on diffusion. Common respiratory and cardiac diseases such as emphysema, interstitial lung diseases, lung damage by drugs, arterial pulmonary hypertension and cardiac failure, among others show a reduced DLCO. Recent theories considering red blood cells as the main factor involved in resistance to diffusion, suggest that DLCO may reflect the status of lung microcirculation. For example, in cardiac failure, DLCO does not improve in parallel with lung volume, even with cardiac stabilization or cardiac transplantation. Despite its wide utilization, DLCO measurement presents standardization and reproducibility difficulties. International guidelines and task forces recommend using representative values of the target population. After analyzing the available information a group of experts from the Pulmonary Function Commission of the Chilean Society of Respiratory Diseases has proposed guidelines for measurement techniques, quality control, equipment calibration and interpretation of results.

Palabras clave : DLCO; Diffusion capacity; Pulmonary function tests.

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