Pulmonary function in adolescents with ataxia telangiectasia

Sharon McGrath-Morrow, Maureen Lefton-Greif, Karen Rosquist, Thomas Crawford, Amber Kelly, Pamela Zeitlin, Kathryn A. Carson, Howard M. Lederman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Introduction. Pulmonary complications are common in adolescents with ataxia telangiectasia (A-T), however objective measurements of lung function may be difficult to obtain because of underlying bulbar weakness, tremors, and difficulty coordinating voluntary respiratory maneuvers. To increase the reliability of pulmonary testing, minor adjustments were made to stabilize the head and to minimize leaks in the system. Fifteen A-T adolescents completed lung volume measurements by helium dilution. To assess for reproducibility of spirometry testing, 10 A-T adolescents performed spirometry on three separate occasions. Results. Total lung capacity (TLC) was normal or just mildly decreased in 12/15 adolescents tested. TLC correlated positively with functional residual capacity (FRC), a measurement independent of patient effort (R 2 = 0.71). The majority of individuals had residual volumes (RV) greater than 120% predicted (10/15) and slow vital capacities (VC) less than 70% predicted (9/15). By spirometry, force vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in 1 sec (FEV1) values were reproducible in the 10 individuals who underwent testing on three separate occasions (R = 0.97 and 0.96 respectively). Seven of the 10 adolescents had FEV1/FVC ratios >90%. Conclusion. Lung volume measurements from A-T adolescents revealed near normal TLC values with increased RV and decreased VC values. These findings indicate a decreased ability to expire to residual volume rather then a restrictive defect. Spirometry was also found to be reproducible in A-T adolescents suggesting that spirometry testing may be useful for tracking changes in pulmonary function over time in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-66
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric pulmonology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Ataxia telangiectasia
  • Dysphagia I
  • Lung volumes
  • Spirometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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