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British Lung Foundation
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FEV? What does is mean?

Following on from Lucky's question about the walk test I had a look at my notes. My FEV is .73 - I know what FEV stands for but what does the number mean?

Is it good, bad or what?



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Anything above 80% is considered near enough normal I think so I reckon 73% is good. Mine is 27%

Thanks. I think I must have got this wrong then. I'm nowhere near normal!

I might ask my consultant to explain it when I see her in a fortnight.


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Hi could you tell me what FEV actually means ta!


That maybe the best idea.

Below is an indication of FEV Percentage however I believe it is only an indicator, I believe it all depends if you have any other symptoms, better off giving the BLF a call they shall explain it in more detail. FEV is a result taken from sprimority test.

I have boullis Emphysema with a FEV1 FEV of 79%, im not on meds, only get a bit whezzzzy when i over do things, exercise every day, eat well, and have been off the horrid fags for 2 years.

Hope this helps

David 1968

FEV1 80% of predicted = normal

FEV1 60% to 79% of predicted = mild obstruction

FEV1 40% to 59% of predicted = moderate obstruction

FEV1 less than 40% of predicted = severe obstruction


Had another look at my notes and there is a FEV1/VC figure there of 34%. Oh dear.

I will speak to my consultant.



sorry - this wasn't here when I started typing the answer below - so yes, that 34% figure will be the one. Feeling quite smug now as my estimate of being below 35% was spot on ;) Oh well, down to earth with a bump now - I need to go put the dust bins out :( Px

Well done! Thanks for the explanation below its very helpful. Quite odd as I don't feel 'severe' but I've probably just got used to it!

Thank you Dr Pavati! :-)

The .73 probably refers to your FEV1 reading in litres. I cannot give you a precise fev1% reading from that as other info - your fvc in particular - would be needed to work it out - call your GP or respiratory nurse and ask to be given your fev1 as a percentage (if it is relevant in the classification of your particular lung disease).

As far as copd goes I can tell you the following as a rough guide. Your .73 would mean .73 of a litre. In a female .73 of a litre as the amount blown out in one second (fev1) would put you somewhere in the severe/ very severe range. Roughly speaking for a female;

2 litres or more = mild copd

between 1 and 2 litres = moderate copd

less than 1 litre is severe/ very severe (probably less than fev1 35% )

Remember this is a rough guide only, and I don't know if your disease (sarcoids?) is classified in the same way as copd - so - call or see your resp nurse/ GP and ask for clarification or explanation - it must be quite frustrating not knowing! Px

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i just wake up and i feel very tired,i have COPDemphysema chronic bronc..is normal to feel like this??

That's the best thing to do Maria. Your consultant will explain your spirometry results and also take into consideration the symptoms you experience and the impact your conditions have on your daily activities. The most important thing is not to worry - there are many other people out there who are in the same situation as you.

On your spirometry results there are a number of key figures. FEV1 is the Forced Expiratory Volume measured over 1 second. The less air you can force out in 1 second, the greater the degree of obstruction. David1968 gives a good scale of interpretations of FEV1 results. This figure is lower than normal in "obstructive" airway diseases such as COPD, asthma and bronchiectasis.

FEV1/FVC is the proportion of your total exhaled air you are able to get out in 1 second. This should be above 0.7 (sometimes written as 70%) after taking ventolin (blue inhaler). This figure is key in the diagnosis of COPD - although some borderline cases will need a CT scan to confirm diagnosis.

FVC is Forced Vital Capacity - the total amount of air you can blow out. This is significantly reduced in "restrictive" lung diseases such as Sarcoidosis and Asbestosis.

All the best!

Thank you very much for your answer Sym_Bicort. I have sarcoidosis and it is indeed very complex isn't it? I know my lungs are rubbish but I get letters from my consultant with all these numbers which just seem meaningless especially as I remain fairly active. I think I stuggle to see how they sit with each other and influence each other.

I certainly don't feel as poorly as these seem to suggest. I'm off swimming later!

Thanks again.

The same as me MarieWF. I'm classed as very severe emphysema but I feel way better than that.

If you take the time to read this report, kindly posted by johnwr, it will explain much of this as well as the fact that FEV readings are no longer considered the most accurate indication as the differing range of activities individuals can do who have the same readings, indicates there is far more to it. Possibly the benefits of exercise.


Thanks Lynne. I'll take a look.

Marie x

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