Measurement of single breath-hold carbon monoxide diffusing capacity in healthy infants and toddlers

Andres Castillo, Conrado J. Llapur, Tanya Martinez, Jeff Kisling, Tamica Williams-Nkomo, Cathy Coates, Robert S. Tepper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


We describe a method for measuring carbon monoxide diffusing capacity (DLCO) and alveolar volume (VA) in sleeping infants, using a single 4-sec breath-hold technique. The breath-hold maneuver is obtained by inducing a respiratory pause of the respiratory system. Several inflations of the respiratory system with room air to a lung volume with an airway pressure of 30 cmH2O (V30) inhibit inspiratory effort. The respiratory system is then inflated with a test gas containing helium and a stable isotope of carbon monoxide (C18O), and a respiratory pause is maintained for 4 sec and followed by passive expiration to functional residual capacity. Concentrations of helium and C18O are continuously measured with a mass spectrometer. Twelve healthy infants between 6-22 months of age were evaluated. For 9 of 12 subjects, duplicate measurements of alveolar volume at 30 cmH2O (VA30) and DLCO were within 10%, which are the recommendations for older children and adults. Among these 9 subjects, values of VA30 and DLCO increased with increasing body length (r2 = 0.82 and 0.79, respectively). The remaining 3 subjects had two values within 10-15%. Measurement of VA and DLCO with the single breath-hold technique at an elevated lung volume offers the potential to assess growth and development of the lung parenchyma early in life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)544-550
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric pulmonology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Alveolar volume
  • Diffusing capacity
  • Lung growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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