Spirometry is practically the only tool to evaluate pulmonary functions. Other automatic systems comparable to spirometry are expected. A fiber-grating (FG) vision sensor is a non-contact respiratory monitoring system to detect changes in volumes by measuring the movement of laser spots on the body surface. We examined the contributions of the FG sensor to evaluating pulmonary functions. The FG sensor showed a linear correlation with spirometry in tidal volumes (TV) obtained from five controls (R = 0.98, P < 0.0001). We also showed agreement of TV between the two devices using Bland-Altman analysis. TV measured by the FG sensor were reproducible and applicable to distinct subjects. To detect airway obstruction, we performed forced expiration in controls (n = 16) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients (n = 18) with the FG sensor and spirometry. Forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) and FEV1/forced vital capacity in COPD patients were lower than those in controls by the FG sensor. In addition, prolonged expiration in natural breathing by the FG sensor was related to airflow limitation by spirometry. The FG sensor was helpful to measure volume changes and to evaluate pulmonary functions in controls and patients with COPD. Its upcoming clinical applications are promising for simplicity and feasibility.
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