Impulse Oscillometry: Lung function testing for young children

Lung function testing is an important investigation for children with persistent cough, wheezing, asthma and other lung problems. In children older than 5-6 years of age spirometry can be performed. This requires the child to blow out forcefully into a spirometer. Since, younger children are unable to perform this test, the diagnosis is based only on clinical picture. Objective testing was not possible till recently. Impulse oscillometry is a newer lung function testing method which does not require children to blow out forcefully. The test can be performed in normal breathing, which makes it very comfortable for younger children. Children's Chest Clinic is the first clinic set up to start this investigation for kids.

What happens during the Impulse Oscillometry test?

Children just need to breathe normally in a pipe to which a mouth piece is attached. We usually takes 3-5 readings. Each reading is for 20 second or so. It is that simple!!

A computerized sensor, which is part of the lung function machine, will calculate the results. These are later presented as graphs and values. Our specifically trained Lung Function physiologist would assist the child.

After what age children can perform Impulse Oscillometry?

Usually children over 2.5- 3 years of age are capable of performing an Impulse Oscillometry.

There might be a 10% chance that the child is not able to perform Impulse Oscillometry in the first time. In such cases we would repeat Impulse Oscillometry in the next one week.

How long does an Impulse Oscillometry take?

An Impulse Oscillometry takes around 5 minutes. If we need to repeat the test after giving a bronchodilator medicine like salbutamol then it would take additional time.

What equipment do we use for Impulse Oscillometry?

We are using a CareFusion MS-IOS from Jaeger, Germany.

Does it pain?

Impulse Oscillometry is a painless test. There are no injections given!

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