Calibration of pneumotachographs using a calibrated syringe

Yongquan Tang, Martin J. Turner*, Johnny S. Yem, A. Barry Baker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Pneumotachographs require frequent calibration. Constant-flow methods allow polynomial calibration curves to be derived but are time consuming. The iterative syringe stroke technique is moderately efficient but results in discontinuous conductance arrays. This study investigated the derivation of first-, second-, and third-order polynomial calibration curves from 6 to 50 strokes of a calibration syringe. We used multiple linear regression to derive first-, second-, and third-order polynomial coefficients from two sets of 6-50 syringe strokes. In part A, peak flows did not exceed the specified linear range of the pneumotachograph, whereas flows in part B peaked at 160% of the maximum linear range. Conductance arrays were derived from the same data sets by using a published algorithm. Volume errors of the calibration strokes and of separate sets of 70 validation strokes (part A) and 140 validation strokes (part B) were calculated by using the polynomials and conductance arrays. Second- and third-order polynomials derived from 10 calibration strokes achieved volume variability equal to or better than conductance arrays derived from 50 strokes. We found that evaluation of conductance arrays using the calibration syringe strokes yields falsely low volume variances. We conclude that accurate polynomial curves can be derived from as few as 10 syringe strokes, and the new polynomial calibration method is substantially more time efficient than previously published conductance methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-576
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2003
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

A corrigendum for this article exists in the Journal of Applied Physiology, vol. 97, no. 5, p. 2028. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00918.2004


  • Conductance
  • Linear regression
  • Pneumotachometer
  • Polynomial


Dive into the research topics of 'Calibration of pneumotachographs using a calibrated syringe'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this