An investigation into new measures of lung function

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Measurement of novel indices of lung function in respiratory disease



  • Contact name

    Nick Talbot

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    University of Oxford

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    5 years, 0 months, 0 days

  • Research summary

    Patients with respiratory disease are routinely diagnosed and monitored using so-called ‘lung function tests’. These tests are widely-used, but have significant limitations. For example, they can be difficult for breathless or frail patients and are relatively insensitive to early changes in lung physiology, in part because they do not gather information about the regional matching of blood flow and gas flow within the lungs.

    Poor matching of blood and gas flow in the lungs is the major cause of low arterial oxygen levels in patients with respiratory disease, but this phenomenon has historically been difficult to assess in patients, requiring invasive procedures such as intravenous drips and arterial blood sampling. These measurements are therefore rarely made, but the information they provide might be very helpful in both in the research and clinical setting.

    We have developed a device that uses laser absorption spectroscopy to measure the composition/contents of the gas entering and leaving the lungs more rapidly and accurately than was previously possible. In combination with a novel mathematical model of the lung, this device allows the distributions of lung gas and blood flow in the lung to be measured non-invasively during 15-20 periods of breathing specific gas mixtures on a mouthpiece.

    This device and mathematical model have been used in healthy volunteers and patients with early lung disease, and provide novel and reproducible information. To understand how these novel indices of lung function vary across different lung diseases, and after interventions that might alter lung function, we wish to measure them in patients with a range of lung conditions. The proposed study is observational, and will not influence the clinical care of these patients. It will be funded by the Oxford NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, and will recruit in Oxford.

  • REC name

    South Central - Oxford A Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    25 Apr 2017

  • REC opinion

    Favourable Opinion