Respiratory diagnostics

Our portfolio includes a wide range of standard and specialized procedures for use in clinical trials


Spirometry is a basic technique to measure standard lung function parameters such as FEV1, FVC, and PEF. We are very experienced in serial lung function tests in clinical trials and are also familiar with using external spirometers with a central over-read.

Lung function tests are an essential technique to measure standard lung function parameters
© Fraunhofer ITEM
Lung function tests are an essential technique to measure standard lung function parameters

Body plethysmography

Body plethysmography is a technique that measures not only the flow-dependent vital capacities determined by spirometry, but also the total lung capacity, residual volume, and airway resistance. We have several body plethysmography cabins, and these are frequently used in clinical trials.

Impulse oscillometry

Impulse oscillometry (IOS) is a variant of the forced oscillation technique. This test permits passive measurement of the lung mechanics. It requires only a minimum of patient cooperation and can thus be easily performed in subjects who are unable to perform spirometry. IOS can differentiate small airway obstruction from large airway obstruction. Furthermore, it is supposed to be more sensitive to peripheral airway disease than spirometry.

Multiple breath nitrogen washout

Multiple breath nitrogen washout (N2MBW) is an old technique that currently experiences a revival and is used more and more often in airway research. This test allows the functional residual capacity to be measured with a simple breathing pattern that is not demanding on the patient.

Diffusion capacity

Diffusion capacity (DLCO) measures the transfer of gas from air in the lung to the red blood cells in lung blood vessels. This test is part of a comprehensive series of pulmonary function tests to determine the overall ability of the lung to transport gas into and out of the blood.

Blood gases

Measuring the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the peripheral blood as well as the pH level is another standard technique that we use in clinical trials.


Spiroergometry (exercise testing) is a noninvasive procedure that provides diagnostic and prognostic information and serves to evaluate an individual’s capacity for dynamic exercise. We have used spiroergometry in several clinical trials with bronchodilators.

© Fraunhofer ITEM

Airway hyperresponsiveness

Airwai hyperresponsiveness is a state characterized by easily triggered bronchospasm (contraction of the bronchioles or small airways). We assess airway hyperresponsiveness most often by means of methacholine, but also have experience with bronchial challenge tests with AMP.


Bronchoscopy is an endoscopic technique of visualizing the inside of the airways for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. We use bronchoscopies in clinical trials to instill challenge substances such as allergen and endotoxin into defined lung segments and to collect samples such as bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), bronchosorption, biopsies, and bronchial brushings.


Rhinomanometry is a manometric procedure used to evaluate nasal patency. It is a standard diagnostic tool of respiratory medicine to objectively evaluate nasal congestion. Pressure and flow during normal inspiration and expiration through the nose are measured with this technique.