How il works and what can measure

During oscillometry the respiratory ststem is stimulated with external pressure that oscillates faster than the normal breathing rate. This allows to measure the flow generated by the stimulus from flow generated by the respiratory muscle

The “speed” of an oscillation is measured in Hz that is the numer of times pressure oscillates in a second.

Slower oscillations are the most informative since they travel longer into the airways and can reach small airways.

Rrs – Respiratory Resistence

For each respiratory segment, resistance is a measurement of its degree of obstruction. The tracheobronchial tree is a complex branching structure of respiratory segments and respiratory resistance measured by oscillometry is the result of the combination of the resistances of all the stimulated segments. This complex structure makes Resistance more sensitive to the degree of obstruction of larger airways and is influenced by heterogeneous distribution of resistances and reactances across the airway tree.

Rrs is increased in clinical situations such as:
  • during bronchoconstriction,
  • in presence of excessive mucous or mucous plugging
  • airway inflammation
  • other causes of airway narrowing or obstruction1


Xrs – Respiratory Reactance

At low stimulating frequencies (5 Hz – 8 Hz), Xrs serves as a measure of the elasticity of the air and the structures in the airways and alveoli being stimulated. A stiffer lung or a smaller volume of air accessible by the stimulating pressure both contribute to a more negative reactance.

Low-frequency Xrs provides valuable information for clinicians to assess how effectively the lung is being ventilated in its distal areas or how well air reaches the peripheral areas.

Xrs falls below predicted values in the following clinical situations:
  • peripheral obstruction1
  • presence of tidal expiratory flow limitation2
  • alveolar gas trapping and/or closing of alveolar units3,4

Impedance spectra: Rrs and Xrs values measured at different oscillometry “frequencies”

Frequently used parameters:

Rrs at 5 Hz (or 8 Hz, in preschoooler)
Xrs at 5 Hz (or 8 Hz, in preschoooler)
Fres: frequency where Xrs=0
Ax: area of Xrs between 5 Hz and Fres
R5-19: frequency dependance of Rrs, difference between Rrs and 5 Hz and 19 Hz

Rrs and Xrs are usually expressed as cmH2O/(L/s) or hPa/(L/s)

Within-breath oscillometry

In within-breath oscillometry Rrs and Xrs are analyzed in ther temporal changes during the breathing cycle
Common parameters used in within-breath oscillometry (calculated at the lowest available frequency):

✓ Rinsp: average Rrs during inspiration
✓ Xinsp: average Xrs during inspiration
✓ Rexp: average Rrs during expiration
✓ Xexp: average Xrs during expiration
(Restech patent for the detection of tidal Expiratory Flow Limitation)
✓ ∆Xrs: Xinsp-Xexp

How it works and what can measure

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