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British Lung Foundation
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Help understanding the no.s

Hi everyone,

Am struggling to fully understand my results. FEV1 4.31, Fvc 5.87 and fev1fvc ratio =4.31/5.87 = 74%. As 49 year old male 188cm tall am I COPD affected or not. No real symptoms but I have been asked to do another spirometer test in 3 months following my work medical. Wish I had asked more questions at the time , am symptom free it seems and relatively fit but also ex smoker for 12 years , re what was suspected or what my results meant.

Fvc1 fvc ratio below 70% seems to be the cut off that comes up a lot on the internet but have also seen sub 80% as a cut of marker for a normal reading.

Am sure others have struggled with such readings. Anyone able to shed light on this or I will just have to wait for my next test.

Many thx, Nige

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Hi the most important figure is your lung function (FEV1). From your readings yours is 74% which usually comes under mild copd ie stage 1. In some instances it is very high moderate as there seems to be much confusion about figures. I know my lung function is mid 70's too and I consider myself mild.

You have done the most important thing ie stopping smoking and with a healthy lifestyle and keeping yourself fit there is no reason why you can't still lead a long healthy life. x

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Thx for the quick reply. Yes I hope to stay fit but this diagnosis at 49 seems a bit of a blow. Will obviously wait for further test clarification but it is what it is I guess. Some of my confusion comes from the FEV1 fvc ratio cut off being at 80% yet I understand your predicted ratio also falls with age so I am wondering how far short of expected my reading actually is. Should I still be achieving 80% plus or not? All a bit complicated.

Many thx again, Nige

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Hi

For a better understanding you need the predicted values for your age weight and height.

If your Fev 1 falls within the normal range 80%-120%

And your FVC fall within the normal range 80%-120%

Then the Fev/FVC ratio is ignored.

If the FEV1 is below the normal range this will indicate the severity of the condition.

The Fev/FVC ratio will indicate if the condition is Obstructive or restrictive

Obstructive if value below 0.7

Restrictive if value above 0.7.

On your next Spirometer test ask for the percentage values and there meanings.

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I'm not sure the bit about ignoring the ratio is always true stone. My FEV1 is 95% and my FVC 119%- both within "normal range" but because my FEV1/FVC ratio is 0.65, I'm classed as having mild COPD but I AM symptomatic. I think it's probably a grey area!

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Hi I would like to ask you about my spirometry test I had last March nurse said 69 % and that 70% was the cut off for copd diagnosis because I had very bad chest infection first ever she said come back in 6 months for another test No diagnosis or meds The only symptoms I have is that traffic fumes smell very strong I have to cover my face but don’t make me cough or breathless I am 72 this year and very fit apart from this lung question I don’t want to go back to GP find it stresses me too much Does is sound like I have copd to you xxx

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Hi

The NICE Guidelines say Fev less than 80%, with a reduction in FVC is indicative of a lung condition. As you appear to be mild, l would return to your GP for a definitive answer and diagnosis. The chest infection would give a misleading result, and in reality should not have been undertaken.

Seek assurances for you own wellbeing.

Traffic fumes and secondhand smoke are always a issue,

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Hi Nige. I have stage 3 copd, where as I think you are stage 1 - mild. I have only ever asked for one copy of the printout and that was when I was moved to stage 3. I’ve decided that I am not going to worry about all the details, lungs of a 100 year old etc, as I’d much rather think positive and try and stay fit and happy, and therefore healthier. It’s not easy, it takes determination, but happiness definitely helps with wellness. Take care 👍

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Hi stone uk , thx from my test I think (not sure) my FEV1 and FVC were within normal limits you quote but my FEV1 fvc ratio is lower than expected. Will certainly ask more questions next time. And i would like to think it could be ignored but they obviously want me back. Don’t suppose you know where it says the ratio can be ignored if this is the case or of an upto date / official site that can give my normal FEV1 and FVC range?

Many thx for your help. Nige.

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Hi

Some reading for you.

brit-thoracic.org.uk/docume...

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Hi Brian, quite understand and agree, get on with life and stay fit. Best wishes. For me it’s just establishing my starting point with COPD and understanding where I am versus the predicted norm at my age in life. Once i have that I can plan. As I said no.s just make it seem a bit of a complicated affair to get to grips with.

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If that helps you then go for it. Trouble with COPD is everyone’s story is different, we all have slightly different symptoms, we all have different coping mechanisms, and we all have different stress levels. If knowing the numbers works for you in any way then that’s the way to go. From a personal perspective, when I found out I was 1 % point away from stage four I stopped looking 😂 That’s the coward in me coming out. Best of luck with it all Nige 😎

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Hi Nige. Reference values can be found on this website vitalograph.co.uk/resources... (but I have no idea how up-to-date they are). It looks like your values are better than average. Obviously, no-one on here is a doctor (including me) but I don't think there is much to worry about. Easier said than done though! Can you give the people who did the test a call and ask them why they want you back? It might save you three months of hand-wringing. Good luck!

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Really appreciate everyone’s response. Thx to you all. Great forum with kind and helpful individuals. Nige

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Depends, of your size, weight and age..then get the doctor to explain yours, it will be related to your condition.

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I think the 80% cutoff is your FEV1% of predicted and not your FEV1/FVC ratio and that is where the confusion is coming from. If your FEV1/FVC is below 70% and your FEV1% of predicted is between 80% and 100% you are considered to be mild but if your FEV1/FVC is above 70% than you likely do not have COPD as an FEV1% above 80% can simply be within the normal range. As others have said we are not doctors so there may be some other information we do not have that may be contribute to a different diagnosis. If you have a copy of your spirometry results it should not only show your actual results, which you mentioned above, it should also include a column showing the predicted values and also a column showing your values as a percentage of the predicted, all which are important.

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Found this quite useful. May help others as well.

What do the test results mean?

The results of the FVC and FEV1 tests are used to figure out the person’s COPD stage. The FVC and FEV1 results are compared in order to calculate a percentage, called the “FEV1/FVC ratio.” This percentage describes how well a person’s lungs work1,2.

Healthy people usually have a FEV1/FVC ratio of between 70% and 80%. This means that the flow of air out of their lungs is not blocked. If a person has a FEV1/FVC ratio of less than 70%, it shows that the flow of air is blocked, and he or she has COPD. The lower the percentage, the less effectively the lungs are working.

A person’s COPD stage depends on another kind of percentage, called the “predicted FEV1”. It compares a person’s airflow to the average airflow of other people of the same age, sex, and body type. The predicted FEV1 is a percentage that shows how well a person’s lungs are working compared to an average person with healthy lungs.

If a person’s predicted FEV1 is less than about 90%, then it shows that the airways are blocked due to COPD.

The predicted FEV1 percentage also shows a person’s current COPD stage:

COPD Stage I (Mild) = predicted FEV1 higher than 80%

COPD Stage II (Moderate) = predicted FEV1 between 50% and 80%

COPD Stage III (Severe) = predicted FEV1 between 30% and 50%

COPD Stage IV (Very Severe) = predicted FEV1 less than 30%

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Spoke to a nurse from the British lung foundation today who said my no.s were ok and to speak to the nurse that did my original test to ask why I have been called back. Will update when I have more info.

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Hi just thought I would sign off here saying I have now had my original results reviewed by occupational health dept at work and received a letter stating my results are in the entirely normal range. No further medical for another 2 years now. This info may be useful for others. The nurse who did my original test has moved on so I never found out why she wanted me back or more likely if she just read the results wrong. Good luck all.

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