Pulmonology Book

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Diffusing Capacity

Aka: Diffusing Capacity, Diffusing Capacity of the Lung for Carbon Monoxide, DLCO
  1. See Also
    1. Pulmonary Function Test
    2. Lung Volumes
    3. Inhalation Challenge Test
    4. Exercise Spirometry
    5. Functional Residual Capacity
    6. Vital Capacity
    7. Peak Expiratory Flow Rate (PEFR)
    8. Spirometry Lower Limit of Normal (PFT LLN)
    9. Obstructive Lung Disease
    10. Restrictive Lung Disease
  2. Background
    1. Capacity of lung to transfer gas across alveoli
    2. Alveoli exposed to Carbon Monoxide
    3. Measure disappearance of Carbon Monoxide from the lung
  3. Technique: Single-Breath DLCO for patients at rest
    1. Patient takes a full Vital Capacity breath
    2. Inhalation mixture
      1. Carbon Monoxide 0.3% (Used to determine gas transfer)
      2. Helium 10% (Used to determine Lung Volume)
      3. Oxygen 21%
      4. Nitrogen 68%
    3. Breath held to Total Lung Capacity for 10 seconds
    4. Alveolar gas sample taken after washout
    5. Requires baseline Hemoglobin
      1. Results are adjusted based on the Hemoglobin level
      2. Corrected DLCO = DLCO / (0.07 x Hemoglobin)
  4. Causes: Decreased DLCO
    1. Restrictive Lung Disease
      1. Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
      2. Asbestosis
      3. Sarcoidosis
      4. Berylliosis
      5. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis
      6. Langerhans CellHistiocytosis X
      7. Miliary Tuberculosis
      8. Silicosis (advanced stage)
      9. Pneumonectomy
      10. Bronchiolitis Obliterans with Organizing Pneumonia
    2. Obstructive Lung Disease
      1. Cystic Fibrosis
      2. Emphysema
      3. Silicosis (early stages)
    3. Normal lung function tests
      1. Chronic Pulmonary Embolism
      2. Congestive Heart Failure
      3. Interstitial Lung Disease prior to PFT restrictive lung changes
      4. Primary Pulmonary Hypertension
      5. Connective tissue disease with lung involvement
        1. Dermatomyositis or Polymyositis
        2. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
        3. Rheumatoid Arthritis
        4. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
        5. Systemic sclerosus
        6. Wegener granulomatosis
  5. Causes: Increased DLCO
    1. Asthma
    2. Left-to-right cardiac shunt
    3. Polycythemia Vera (see below)
    4. Pulmonary Hemorrhage
  6. Causes: Normal DLCO
    1. Restrictive Lung Disease
      1. Cystic Fibrosis
      2. Emphysema
      3. Silicosis (early stages)
    2. Obstructive Lung Disease
      1. Alpha-1-Antitrypsin Deficiency
      2. Asthma
      3. Bronchiectasis
      4. Chronic Bronchitis
  7. Causes: Falsely Abnormal DLCO (if Hemoglobin not 15 g/dl)
    1. See corrected DLCO for Hemoglobin Above
    2. Falsely elevated DLCO
      1. Polycythemia Vera
      2. Early Congestive Heart Failure
    3. Falsely reduced DLCO
      1. Anemia
  8. References
    1. Johnson (2014) Am Fam Physician 89(5): 359-66 [PubMed]
    2. Pellegrino (2005) Eur Resp J 26(5): 948-68 [PubMed]
    3. Weinberger (1980) Chest 78(3): 483-8 [PubMed]

Carbon Monoxide Diffusing Capability Test (C1516251)

Definition (NCI) A measurement of carbon monoxide (CO) transfer from inspired gas to pulmonary capillary blood. During the test, the subject inspires a gas containing CO and one or more tracer gases to allow determination of the gas exchanging capability of the lungs.
Concepts Diagnostic Procedure (T060)
English PFT/DLCO, DLCO, Diffusion Capacity of the Lung for Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Monoxide Diffusing Capability Test, Pulmonary Function Test/Carbon Monoxide Diffusing Capability
Sources
Derived from the NIH UMLS (Unified Medical Language System)


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