It is a pleasure to present the fourth European Respiratory Monograph (ERM) devoted
to respiratory medicine in children. In 1997, an issue entitled New Diagnostic Techniques
in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine was published, and a substantial part of this ERM
was focused on lung function assessment in children. A more broad approach was taken
in the issue Growing up with Lung Disease: the Lung in Transition to Adult Life, which
was published in 2002, and 4 yrs later, in 2006, the ERM entitled Respiratory Diseases in
Infants and Children appeared as an issue covering most of the aspects of paediatric
pulmonology. In the Lung Function Testing issue from 2005, one of the chapters took an
interest in the specific aspects of assessment of lung function in infants and children. As
the area is rapidly developing, the time has now come for an ERM entirely focused on
paediatric aspects of lung function assessment, which seems appropriate considering
that the paediatric assembly has become one of the largest within the European
Respiratory Society.
There are specific issues concerning lung function measurement in children (and in the
elderly for that matter), as normal values are difficult to define and instructions on how to
perform the tests sometimes may be difficult to convey. In small children, techniques that do
not require active involvement of the patients have to be developed. Furthermore, lung
function assessment in adolescence has its own difficulties regarding predicted normal
values, as two different teenagers may appear as children or adults at one and the same age.
From having been a concern mainly for the specialists, simple lung function testing is
more and more becoming an integrated part of the daily clinical practice in adult and
paediatric primary care in many countries. In parallel with the growing interest in lung
function assessment in general, the technical development within the field is rapidly
growing and more advanced methods are used. The publication of the current issue of the
ERM is therefore felt to be timely and it is my conviction that it will be warmly welcomed
by a large number of readers who are actively involved in lung function measurements in
infants, children and adolescents. Apart from the pure paediatric clinical and technical
aspects, this issue will also attract readers outside the paediatric guild, as there are chapters
on developmental physiology, lung growth, environmental influences on lung develop-
ment and function, etc. The editors, of whom one was also a guest editor for the
Respiratory Diseases in Infants and Children issue, have succeeded in recruiting the most
distinguished specialists as authors, which will make this ERM a milestone within the
paediatric literature.
Editor in Chief,
K. Larsson
Eur Respir Mon, 2010, 47, viii. Printed in UK - all rights reserved. Copyright ERS Journals Ltd 2010; European Respiratory Monograph;
ISSN 1025-448x.
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