Rapid FEV1/FVC Decline Is Related With Incidence of Obstructive Lung Disease and Mortality in General Population

Kwang Yong Choi, Hyo Jin Lee, Jung Kyu Lee, Tae Yun Park, Eun Young Heo, Deog Kyeom Kim, Hyun Woo Lee

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BACKGROUND: Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1)/forced vital capacity (FVC) naturally decreases with age; however, an excessive decline may be related with increased morbidity and mortality. This study aimed to evaluate the FEV1/FVC decline rate in the Korean general population and to identify whether rapid FEV1/FVC decline is a risk factor for obstructive lung disease (OLD) and all-cause and respiratory mortality. METHODS: We evaluated individuals aged 40-69 years who underwent baseline and biannual follow-up spirometric assessments for up to 18 years, excluding those with airflow limitations at baseline. Based on the quartiles of the annual FEV1/FVC decline rate, the most negative FEV1/FVC change (1st quartile of annual FEV1/FVC decline rate) was classified as rapid FEV1/FVC decline. We investigated the risk of progression to OLD and all-cause and respiratory mortality in individuals with rapid FEV1/FVC decline. RESULTS: The annual FEV1/FVC decline rate in the eligible 7,768 patients was 0.32 percentage point/year. The incidence rate of OLD was significantly higher in patients with rapid FEV1/FVC decline than in those with non-rapid FEV1/FVC decline (adjusted incidence rate, 2.119; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.932-2.324). Rapid FEV1/FVC decline was an independent risk factor for all-cause mortality (adjusted hazard [HR], 1.374; 95% CI, 1.105-1.709) and respiratory mortality (adjusted HR, 1.353; 95% CI, 1.089-1.680). CONCLUSION: The annual FEV1/FVC decline rate was 0.32%p in the general population in Korea. The incidence rate of OLD and the hazards of all-cause and respiratory mortality were increased in rapid FEV1/FVC decliners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e4
JournalJournal of Korean Medical Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2023


  • Cohort Studies
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Forced Vital Capacity
  • Mortality
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Risk Factors


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