Lung clearance index in subjects with cystic fibrosis in Italy

Enrico Lombardi, Simone Gambazza, Ugo Pradal, Cesare Braggion

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The Lung Clearance Index (LCI) is an index derived from washout recordings, able to detect early peripheral airway damage in subjects with cystic fibrosis (CF) with a greater sensitivity than spirometry. LCI is a marker of overall lung ventilation inhomogeneity; in fact, as pulmonary ventilation worsens, the number of tidal breaths and the expiratory volumes required to clear the lungs of a marker gas are increased, as documented by a greater value. In the field of CF, LCI allows indirect investigation of the small airways (< 2 mm) the site where, from a pathophysiologic point of view, the disease begins due to the defect of the CF transmembrane-conductance regulator (CFTR) protein. Infant pulmonary function changes seem to occur before clinically overt symptoms of lower respiratory illness occur. When performing the test, it is important to refer to the American Thoracic Society and European Respiratory Society consensus statements and apply a strict standardization. In Italy the first tests were carried out in 2014 for research purpose and now approximately 10 centers are collecting data and are experiencing a consistency in repeating exams. Currently in Italian centers children at pre-school age are the main target: in this population it is important to have a sensitive and feasible test, non-invasive, that can be performed at tidal volume without sedation, and requiring minimal cooperation and coordination, and that can be used longitudinally over time. Another target could be the transplanted subjects to detect early signs of lung function decline. The content of this paper captures the experience and discussions among some of the Italian centers where LCI is currently used for research and/or in clinical practice about the method and the need to have a common approach. The aim of this paper is not to describe the methodology of MBW, but to inform the pediatric community about the possible application of LCI in CF.

Original languageEnglish
Article number56
JournalItalian Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2 2019


  • Children
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • LCI
  • Lung function
  • MBW
  • Preschool
  • Ventilation inhomogeneity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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