Fractional-order (FrOr) models have a high potential to improve pulmonary science. These models could be useful for biomechanical studies and diagnostic purposes, offering accurate models with an improved ability to describe nature. This paper evaluates the performance of the Forced Oscillation (FO) associated with integer (InOr) and FrOr models in the analysis of respiratory alterations in work-related asthma (WRA).
Sixty-two individuals were evaluated: 31 healthy and 31 with WRA with mild obstruction. Patients were analyzed pre and post bronchodilation. The diagnostic accuracy was evaluated using the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC). To evaluate how well do the studied models correspond to observed data, we analyzed the mean square root of the sum (MSEt) and the relative distance (Rd) of the estimated model values to the measured resistance and reactance measured values.
Results and discussion
Initially, the use of InOr and FrOr models increased our understanding of the WRA physiopathology, showing increased peripheral resistance, damping, and hysteresivity. The FrOr model (AUC=0.970) outperformed standard FO (AUC=0.929), as well as InOr modeling (AUC=0.838) in the diagnosis of respiratory changes, achieving high accuracy. FrOr improved the curve fitting (MSEt=0.156±0.340; Rd=3.026±1.072) in comparison with the InOr model (MSEt=0.367±0.991; Rd=3.363±1.098). Finally, we demonstrated that the bronchodilator use increased dynamic compliance, as well as reduced damping and peripheral resistance.
Taken together, these results show clear evidence of the utility of FO associated with fractional-order modeling in patients with WRA, improving our knowledge of the biomechanical abnormalities and the diagnostic accuracy in this disease.