Encyclopedia of Medical Immunology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Ian R. Mackay, Noel R. Rose, Dennis K. Ledford, Richard F. Lockey

Testing: DLCO

  • Daniel A. Searing
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-9194-1_509


Carbon monoxide uptake; Diffusing capacity


DLCO stands for diffusing capacity of the lungs for carbon monoxide. It provides a measurement for carbon monoxide (CO) transfer from the airways, across the alveolar-capillary membrane, into the pulmonary capillaries, and across the red blood cell membrane where CO then binds to hemoglobin (Hegewald and Crapo 2010).


Conditions associated with an abnormal DLCO include interstitial lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pulmonary vascular disease (see Table 1). The test is typically performed in subjects using an office spirometer, a gas analyzer, and a source of test gas. The most common technique utilized is a single-breath maneuver where the subject inhales rapidly to total lung capacity (TLC) using only minimal effort and then holds their breath for approximately 10 seconds (MacIntyre et al. 2005).
Testing: DLCO, Table 1

Conditions associated with abnormal DLCO




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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Department of PediatricsNational Jewish Health University of ColoradoDenverUSA