Pulmonary Function Test Station

The FEV1/FVC ratio, also called Tiffeneau index, is a calculated ratio used in the diagnosis of obstructive and restrictive lung disease. It represents the proportion of the forced vital capacity exhaled in the first second.

FEV1 is the volume of air that can forcibly be blown out in one second, after full inspiration. Average values for FEV1 in healthy people depend mainly on sex and age, according to the diagram at left. Values of between 80% and 120% of the average value are considered normal.  Predicted normal values for FEV1 can be calculated online and depend on age, sex, height, weight and ethnicity as well as the research study that they are based upon.

In obstructive diseases (asthma, COPD, chronic bronchitis, emphysema) FEV1 is diminished because of increased airway resistance to expiratory flow; the FVC may be decreased as well, due to the premature closure of airway in expiration, just not in the same proportion as FEV1 (for instance, both FEV1 and FVC are reduced, but the former is more affected because of the increased airway resistance). This generates a reduced value (<80%, often ~45%). In restrictive diseases (such as pulmonary fibrosis) the FEV1 and FVC are both reduced proportionally and the value may be normal or even increased as a result of decreased lung compliance.

A derived value of FEV1% is FEV1% predicted, which is defined as FEV1% of the patient divided by the average FEV1% in the population for any person of similar age, sex and body


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