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Comparative spirometric studies in normal and malnourished children

Rajneet Kaur, Smriti Chauhan, Sapna Bhardwaj.

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Background: Lung function tests are a measure of respiratory status. These tests are related to and hence affected by factors affecting growth and development in children.

Aims & Objective: The present study elucidates the effect of malnutrition on pulmonary functions in children.

Materials and methods: This was Cross-sectional study. Three hundred & fourteen randomly selected school children in the age group of 7 to 14 years were included in the study. The study groups were divided into three main categories: healthy normals; wasted; and wasted & stunted children. Pulmonary function tests were performed with computerised spirometer [Medspiror]. The data was analysed with the help of computer software SPSS 12.0 for Windows & Epi-info version 6.1.

Results: Wasted, wasted & stunted children showed lower lung volumes and flow rates than healthy normal children. Our observations suggest that different degrees of malnutrition have its effect on pulmonary function tests. The ratios between timed volume and vital capacities were in normal or above normal limit indicating no airflow limitation was produced by poor nutritional status.

Conclusion: The reduction in lung volumes and flow rates in wasted children is probably due to ventilatory muscle wasting. However, in wasted & stunted children along with muscular wasting diminished skeletal growth is a reason for decreased lung functions.

Key words: Malnutrition; Wasted; Wasted & Stunted; Lung Volume; Flow Rate

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