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3.00 RespiratoryDisorders

A. Which disorders do we evaluate in this bodysystem?

We evaluate respiratorydisorders that result in obstruction (difficulty moving air out of the lungs) or restriction (difficulty moving air into the lungs),or that interfere with diffusion (gas exchange) across cell membranes in the lungs. Examples of such disorders and the listings we use to evaluate them include chronic obstructivepulmonary disease(chronic bronchitis and emphysema, 3.02), pulmonary fibrosisand pneumoconiosis (3.02),asthma (3.02 or 3.03),cystic fibrosis (3.04), andbronchiectasis (3.02 or 3.07).We also use listings in this body system to evaluate respiratory failure (3.04D or 3.14),chronic pulmonary hypertension (3.09), and lung transplantation (3.11).We evaluate cancers affecting the respiratory system under the listings in 13.00.We evaluate thepulmonary effects of neuromuscular and autoimmune disorders under these listings or under the listings in 11.00 or 14.00, respectively.

B. Whatare the symptoms and signs of respiratory disorders? Symptoms and signsof respiratory disorders include dyspnea (shortness of breath), chest pain,coughing, wheezing, sputum production, hemoptysis (coughing up blood from therespiratory tract), use of accessory muscles of respiration, and tachypnea(rapid rate of breathing).

C. What abbreviations do we use in this body system?

ABG means arterial bloodgas.BiPAP means bi-levelpositive airway pressure ventilation.BTPS means body temperature and ambientpressure, saturated with water vapor.CF means cysticfibrosis.CFRD means CF-relateddiabetes.CFTR means CFtransmembrane conductance regulator.CO means carbonmonoxide.COPD means chronic obstructivepulmonary disease.DLCO means diffusingcapacity of the lungs for carbon monoxide.FEV1 means forcedexpiratory volume in the first second of a forced expiratory maneuver.FVC means forced vitalcapacity.L means liter.mL CO (STPD)/min/mmHg means milliliters ofcarbon monoxide at standard temperature and pressure, dry, per minute, permillimeter of mercury.PaO2 means arterial bloodpartial pressure of oxygen.PaCO2 means arterial blood partialpressure of carbon dioxide.SpO2 means percentage ofoxygen saturation of blood hemoglobin measured by pulse oximetry.6MWT means 6-minute walktest.VI means volume ofinhaled gas during a DLCO test.

D. Whatdocumentation do we need to evaluate your respiratory disorder?

We need medical evidence to document and assess the severity of your respiratory disorder. Medical evidence shouldinclude your medical history, physical examination findings, the results of imaging (see 3.00D3),pulmonary function tests (see 3.00D4), other relevant laboratory tests, and descriptions of any prescribed treatment and yourresponse to it.We may not need all of this evidence depending on your particular respiratory disorder and its effects on you.Ifyou use supplemental oxygen, we stillneed medical evidence to establish the severity of your respiratory disorder.Imaging refers to medical imaging techniques, such as x-ray and computerized tomography. The imaging mustbe consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge and clinicalpractice as the proper technique to support the evaluation of the disorder.Pulmonary function tests include spirometry (which measures ventilation of the lungs), DLCO tests (which measure gas diffusion in the lungs), ABG tests (which measure the partial pressure of oxygen, PaO2, and carbon dioxide, PaCO2,in the arterial blood), and pulseoximetry (which measures oxygen saturation, SpO2, of peripheral blood hemoglobin).

E. Whatis spirometry and what are our requirements for an acceptable test and report?

Spirometry, which measures how well you move air into and out of your lungs, involves at least three forced expiratory maneuvers during the same test session. A forced expiratory maneuver is a maximum inhalation followed by a forced maximumexhalation, and measures exhaled volumes of air over time. The volume of airyou exhale in the first second of the forced expiratory maneuver is the FEV1.The total volume of air that you exhale during the entire forced expiratory maneuver is the FVC. We use your highest FEV1 value to evaluate your respiratory disorder under 3.02A, 3.03A, and 3.04A,and your highest FVC value to evaluate your respiratory disorder under 3.02B,regardless of whether the values are from the same forced expiratory maneuver or different forcedexpiratory maneuvers.We have the following requirements for spirometry under these listings:You must be medically stable at the time of the test. Examples of when we would not consider you to be medically stable include when you are: Within 2 weeks of a change in your prescribed respiratory medication.

Experiencing, or within 30 days of completion of treatment for, a lower respiratory tractinfection.

Experiencing, or within 30 days of completion of treatment for, an acute exacerbation (temporary worsening) of a chronic respiratory disorder. Wheezing by itself does not indicate that you are not medically stable. Hospitalized, or within 30 days of a hospital discharge, for an acute myocardial infarction(heart attack).Duringtesting, if your FEV1 is less than 70 percent of your predicted normal value,we require repeat spirometry after inhalation of a bronchodilator to evaluateyour respiratory disorder under these listings, unless it is medically contraindicated.If you used a bronchodilator before the test and your FEV1 is less than 70percent of your predicted normal value, we still require repeat spirometryafter inhalation of a bronchodilator unless the supervising physiciandetermines that it is not safe for you to take a bronchodilator again (in whichcase we may need to reschedule the test). If you do not havepost-bronchodilator spirometry, the test report must explain why. We can usethe results of spirometry administered without bronchodilators when the use ofbronchodilators is medically contraindicated.Yourforced expiratory maneuvers must be satisfactory. We consider a forcedexpiratory maneuver to be satisfactory when you exhale with maximum effortfollowing a full inspiration, and when the test tracing has a sharp takeoff andrapid rise to peak flow, has a smooth contour, and either lasts for at least 6seconds or maintains a plateau for at least 1 second.The spirometry report must include the following information:Thedate of the test and your name, age or date of birth, gender, and heightwithout shoes. (We will assume that your recorded height on the date of thetest is without shoes, unless we have evidence to the contrary.) If your spineis abnormally curved (for example, you have kyphoscoliosis), we will substitutethe longest distance between your outstretched fingertips with your armsabducted 90 degrees in place of your height when this measurement is greaterthan your standing height without shoes.Anyfactors, if applicable, that can affect the interpretation of the test results(for example, your cooperation or effort in doing the test).Legibletracings of your forced expiratory maneuvers in a volume-time format showingyour name and the date of the test for each maneuver.Ifwe purchase spirometry, the medical source we designate to administer the testis solely responsible for deciding whether it is safe for you to do the testand for how to administer it.

F. Whatis a DLCO test, and what are our requirements for an acceptable test andreport?

ADLCO test measures the gas exchange across cell membranes in your lungs. Itmeasures how well CO diffuses from the alveoli (air sacs) of your lungs intoyour blood. DLCO may be severely reduced in some disorders, such asinterstitial lung disease (for example, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis,asbestosis, and sarcoidosis) and COPD (particularly emphysema), even when theresults of spirometry are not significantly reduced. We use the average of twoof your unadjusted (that is, uncorrected for hemoglobin concentration) DLCOmeasurements reported in mL CO (STPD)/min/mmHg to evaluate your respiratorydisorder under 3.02C1.We have the following requirements for DLCO tests under these listings:You must be medically stable at the time of the test. See 3.00E2a.The test must use the single-breath technique. The VI during the DLCO maneuver must be at least 85 percent of your current FVC, and your time of inhalation must be less than 4 seconds. (See 3.00E for our rules for programmatically acceptable spirometry.) If you do not have an FVCmeasurement on the same day as the DLCO test, we may use your FVC fromprogrammatically acceptable spirometry administered within 90 days of the DLCOtest. Your breath-hold time must be between 8 and 12 seconds. Your total exhalation time must be less than or equal to 4 seconds, with a samplecollection time of less than 3 seconds. If your FVC is at least 2.0 L, thewashout volume must be between 0.75 L and 1.0 L. If your FVC is less than 2.0L, the washout volume must be at least 0.5 L.The DLCO test report must include the following information:Thedate of the test and your name, age or date of birth, gender, and heightwithout shoes. (We will assume that your recorded height on the date of thetest is without shoes, unless we have evidence to the contrary.) If your spineis abnormally curved (for example, you have kyphoscoliosis), we will substitutethe longest distance between your outstretched fingertips with your armsabducted 90 degrees in place of your height when this measurement is greaterthan your standing height without shoes.Anyfactors, if applicable, that can affect the interpretation of the test results(for example, your cooperation or effort in doing the test).Legibletracings of your VI, breath-hold maneuver, and volume of exhaled gas showingyour name and the date of the test for each DLCO maneuver.At least two acceptable (see 3.00F2) DLCO measurements within 3 mL CO (STPD)/min/mmHg of each other or within 10 percent of the highest value. We may need to purchase a DLCO test to determine whether your disorder meets 3.02C1 when we have evidence showing that you have a chronic respiratorydisorder that could result in impaired gas exchange, unless we can make a fullyfavorable determination or decision on another basis. Since the DLCOcalculation requires a current FVC measurement, we may also purchase spirometryat the same time as the DLCO test, even if we already have programmaticallyacceptable spirometry. Beforewe purchase a DLCO test, a medical consultant (see §§ 404.1616 and 416.1016 of this chapter),preferably one with experience in the care of people with respiratory disorders, must review your case record to determine if we need the test.The medical source we designate to administer the test is solelyresponsible for deciding whether it is safe for you to do the test and for howto administer it.

G. Whatis an ABG test, and what are our requirements for an acceptable test andreport?

General. An ABG test measures PaO2, PaCO2, and the concentration of hydrogen ions in your arterial blood. We use a resting or an exercise ABG measurement to evaluate yourrespiratory disorder under 3.02C2.Resting ABG tests.Wehave the following requirements for resting ABG tests under these listings: Youmust be medically stable at the time of the test. See 3.00E2a.Thetest must be administered while you are breathing room air; that is, withoutoxygen supplementation.Theresting ABG test report must include the following information:You name, the date of the test, and either the altitude or both the city and State of the test site.The PaO2 and PaCO2 values.Wemay need to purchase a resting ABG test to determine whether your disorder meets 3.02C2 when we have evidence showing that you have a chronic respiratorydisorder that could result in impaired gas exchange, unless we can make a fullyfavorable determination or decision on another basis. Beforewe purchase a resting ABG test, a medical consultant (see §§ 404.1616 and 416.1016 of this chapter),preferably one with experience in the care of peoplewith respiratory disorders, must review your case record to determine if weneed the test.The medical source we designate to administer the test is solely responsible for deciding whether it is safe for you to do the test and for howto administer it.Exercise ABG tests.Wewill not purchase an exercise ABG test. We have the following requirements for exercise ABG tests under these listings:Youmust have done the exercise under steady state conditions while breathing roomair. If you were tested on a treadmill, you generally must have exercised forat least 4 minutes at a grade and speed providing oxygen (O2) consumption ofapproximately 17.5 milliliters per kilogram per minute (mL/kg/min) or 5.0metabolic equivalents (METs). If you were tested on a cycle ergometer, you generally must have exercised for at least 4 minutes at an exercise equivalent of 5.0 METs.Wemay use a test in which you have not exercised for at least 4 minutes. If youwere unable to complete at least 4 minutes of steady state exercise, we need astatement by the person administering the test about whether the results are avalid indication of your respiratory status. For example, this statement mayinclude information about your cooperation or effort in doing the test and whether you were limited in completing the test because of your respiratory disorder or another impairment.Theexercise ABG test report must include the following information:Yourname, the date of the test, and either the altitude or both the city and stateof the test site.The PaO2 and PaCO2 values.

H. What is pulse oximetry, and what are our requirements for an acceptabletest and report?

Pulse oximetry measures SpO2, the percentage of oxygen saturation of blood hemoglobin. We use a pulse oximetry measurement (either at rest, during a 6MWT, or after a 6MWT) to evaluate your respiratory disorder under 3.02C3 or, if you have CF, to evaluate it under 3.04F.Wehave the following requirements for pulse oximetry under 3.02C3:Youmust be medically stable at the time of the test. See 3.00E2a. Yourpulse oximetry measurement must be recorded while you are breathing room air;that is, without oxygen supplementation.Yourpulse oximetry measurement must be stable. By “stable,” we mean that the rangeof SpO2 values (that is, lowest to highest) during any 15-second intervalcannot exceed 2 percentage points. For example: (1) the measurement is stableif the lowest SpO2 value during a 15-second interval is 87 percent and thehighest value is 89 percent—a range of 2 percentage points. (2) The measurementis not stable if the lowest value is 86 percent and the highest value is 89 percent—a range of 3 percentage points.Ifyou have had more than one measurement (for example, at rest and after a 6MWT),we will use the measurement with the lowest SpO2 value. Thepulse oximetry report must include the following information:Your name, the date of the test, and either the altitude or both the city and State of the test site.A graphical printout showing your SpO2 value and a concurrent, acceptable pulsewave. An acceptable pulse wave is one that shows the characteristic pulse wave; that is, sawtooth-shaped with a rapid systolic upstroke (nearly vertical)followed by a slower diastolic downstroke (angled downward).Wemay need to purchase pulse oximetry at rest to determine whether your disorder meets 3.02C3 when we have evidence showing that you have a chronic respiratory disorder that could result in impaired gas exchange, unless we can make a fully favorable determination or decision on another basis. We may purchase pulse oximetry during and after a 6MWT if your SpO2 value at rest is greater than the value in Table V.Beforewe purchase pulse oximetry,a medical consultant (see §§ 404.1616 and 416.1016 of this chapter),preferably one with experience in the care of people with respiratory disorders,must review your case record to determine if we need the test.The medical source we designate to administer the test is solely responsible for deciding whether it is safe for you to do the test and for how to administer it.We have the following requirements for pulse oximetry under 3.04F:You must be medically stable at the time of the test. See 3.00E2a. Your pulse oximetry measurement must be recorded while you are breathing room air;that is, without oxygen supplementation.If you have had more than one measurement (for example, at rest and after a 6MWT), we will use the measurement with the lowest SpO2 value.The pulse oximetry report must include your name, the date of the test, and either the altitude or both the city and State of the test site. If you have CF, we donot require a graphical printout showing your SpO2 value and a concurrent,acceptable pulse wave.

I. What is asthma and how do we evaluate it?

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the lung airways that we evaluate under 3.02 or 3.03.If you have respiratory failure resulting from chronic asthma (see 3.00N), wewill evaluate it under 3.14.For the purposes of 3.03: Weneed evidence showing that you have listing-level (see Table VI in 3.03A) airflow obstruction at baseline while you are medically stable.Thephrase “consider under a disability for 1 year” in 3.03B does not refer to the date on which your disability began, only to the date on which we must reevaluate whether your asthma continues to meet a listing or is otherwise disabling. Wedetermine the onset of your disability based on the facts of your case, but it will be no later than the admission date of your first of threehospitalizations that satisfy the criteria of 3.03B.

J. What is CF and how do we evaluate it?

General. We evaluate CF, a genetic disorder that results in abnormal salt and water transport across cell membranes in the lungs, pancreas, and other body organs, under 3.04. We need the evidence described in 3.00J2 to establish that you have CF. Documentation of CF. We need a report signed by a physician (see §§ 404.1513(a) and 416.913(a) of this chapter) showing both a and b:One of the following:A positive newborn screen for CF; orA history of CF in a sibling; orDocumentation of at least one specific CF phenotype or clinical criterion (for example, chronic sino-pulmonary disease with persistent colonization or infections with typical CF pathogens, pancreatic insufficiency, or salt-loss syndromes); andOne of the following definitive laboratory tests:Anelevated sweat chloride concentration equal to or greater than 60 millimolesper L; orTheidentification of two CF gene mutations affecting the CFTR; or Characteristicabnormalities in ion transport across the nasal epithelium.Whenwe have the report showing a and b, but it is not signed by a physician, wealso need a report from a physician stating that you have CF.Whenwe do not have the report showing a and b, we need a report from a physicianthat is persuasive that a positive diagnosis of CF was confirmed by anappropriate definitive laboratory test. To be persuasive, this report mustinclude a statement by the physician that you had the appropriate definitivelaboratory test for diagnosing CF. The report must provide the test results orexplain how your diagnosis was established that is consistent with theprevailing state of medical knowledge and clinical practice.CF pulmonaryexacerbations.Examples of CF pulmonary exacerbations include increased cough and sputumproduction, hemoptysis, increased shortness of breath, increased fatigue, andreduction in pulmonary function. Treatment usually includes intravenousantibiotics and intensified airway clearance therapy (for example, increasedfrequencies of chest percussion or increased use of inhaled nebulizedtherapies, such as bronchodilators or mucolytics).For 3.04G, we require any two exacerbations or complications from the list in 3.04G1 through 3.04G4 within a 12-month period.You may have two of the same exacerbation or complication or two different ones.Ifyou have two of the acute exacerbations or complications we describe in 3.04G1 and 3.04G2, there must be at least 30 days between the two.If you have one of the acute exacerbations or complications we describe in 3.04G1 and 3.04G2 and one of the chronic complications we describe in 3.04G3 and 3.04G4, the two can occur during the same time. For example, your CF meets 3.04G if you have the pulmonary hemorrhage we describe in 3.04G2 and the weight loss we describe in 3.04G3 even if the pulmonary hemorrhage occurs during the 90-day period in 3.04G3. YourCF also meets 3.04G if you have both of the chronic complications in 3.04G3 and 3.04G4.CF may also affect other body systems such as digestive or endocrine. If your CF, including pulmonary exacerbations and nonpulmonary complications, does not meet or medically equal a respiratory disorders listing, we may evaluate yourCF-related impairments under the listings in the affected body system.

K. What is bronchiectasis and how do we evaluate it? Bronchiectasis is a chronic respiratory disorder that is characterized by abnormal and irreversibledilatation (enlargement) of the airways below the trachea, which may be associated with the accumulation of mucus, bacterial infections, and eventualairway scarring. We require imaging (see 3.00D3) to document this disorder.We evaluate your bronchiectasis under 3.02, or under 3.07 if you are having exacerbations or complications (for example, acute bacterial infections, increased shortness of breath, or coughing up blood) that require hospitalization.

L. What is chronic pulmonary hypertension and how do we evaluate it?

Chronic pulmonary hypertension is an increase in the blood pressure of the blood vessels of the lungs. If pulmonary hypertension is not adequately treated, it can eventually result in right heart failure. We evaluate chronic pulmonary hypertension due to any cause under 3.09. Chronic pulmonary hypertension is usually diagnosed by catheterization of the pulmonary artery. We will not purchase cardiac catheterization.

M. How do we evaluate lung transplantation? If you receive a lung transplant (or a lung transplant simultaneously with other organs, such as the heart), we will consider you to be disabled under 3.11 for 3 years from the date of the transplant.After that, we evaluate your residual impairment(s) by consideringthe adequacy of your post-transplant function,the frequency and severity of any rejection episodes you have, complications in other body systems, and adverse treatment effects.People who receive organ transplants generally haveimpairments that meet our definition of disability before they undergo transplantation.The phrase “consider under a disability for 3 years” in 3.11 does not refer to the date on which your disability began,only to the date on which we must reevaluate whether your impairment(s) continues to meet a listing or is otherwise disabling.We determine the onset of your disability based on the facts of your case.

N. What is respiratory failure and how do we evaluate it? Respiratory failure is the inability of the lungs to perform their basic function of gas exchange. We evaluate respiratory failure under 3.04D if you have CF-related respiratory failure,or under 3.14 if you have respiratory failure due to any other chronic respiratory disorder.Continuous positive airway pressure does not satisfy the criterion in 3.04D or 3.14,and cannot be substituted as an equivalent finding, for invasive mechanical ventilation or noninvasive ventilation with BiPAP.

O. How do we consider the effects of obesity when we evaluate yourrespiratory disorder? Obesity is a medically determinable impairment that is often associated withrespiratory disorders. Obesity makes it harder for the chest and lungs toexpand, which can compromise the ability of the respiratory system to supplyadequate oxygen to the body. The combined effects of obesity with a respiratorydisorder can be greater than the effects of each of the impairments consideredseparately. We consider any additional and cumulative effects of your obesitywhen we determine whether you have a severe respiratory disorder, a listing-levelrespiratory disorder, a combination of impairments that medically equals theseverity of a listed impairment, and when we assess your residual functionalcapacity.

P. What are sleep-related breathing disorders and how do we evaluatethem?

Sleep-relatedbreathing disorders (for example, sleep apnea) are characterized by transient episodes ofinterrupted breathing during sleep, which disrupt normal sleep patterns.Prolonged episodes can result in disorders such as hypoxemia (low blood oxygen)and pulmonary vasoconstriction (restricted blood flow in pulmonary bloodvessels). Over time, these disorders may lead to chronic pulmonary hypertensionor other complications. We evaluate the complications of sleep-related breathing disorders under the listings in the affected body system(s). For example, we evaluate chronic pulmonary hypertension due to any cause under 3.09;chronic heart failure under 4.02; and disturbances in mood, cognition, and behavior under 12.02 or another appropriate mental disorders listing.We will not purchase polysomnography (sleep study).

Q. How do we evaluate mycobacterial, mycotic, and other chronicinfections of the lungs? We evaluate chronic infections of the lungs that result in limitations in your respiratory function under 3.02.

R. How do we evaluate respiratory disorders that do not meet one of these listings?

These listings are only examples of common respiratory disorders that we consider severe enough to prevent you from doing any gainful activity. If your impairment(s) does not meet the criteria of any of these listings, we must also considerwhether you have an impairment(s) that meets the criteria of a listing inanother body system. For example, if your CF has resulted in chronic pancreatic or hepatobiliary disease, we evaluate your impairment under the listings in 5.00.If you have a severe medically determinable impairment(s) that does not meet a listing, we will determine whether your impairment(s) medically equals a listing.See §§ 404.1526 and 416.926 of this chapter.Respiratory disorders maybe associated with disorders in other body systems, and we consider the combined effects of multiple impairments when we determine whether they medically equal a listing. If your impairment(s) does not meet or medically equal a listing, you may or may not have the residual functional capacity toengage in substantial gainful activity. We proceed to the fourth step and, if necessary, the fifth step of the sequential evaluation process in §§ 404.1520 and 416.920 of this chapter. We use the rules in §§ 404.1594 and 416.994 of this chapter, as appropriate, when we decide whether you continue to be disabled.

3.01 Category of Impairments, Respiratory System

3.02Chronic respiratory disordersdue to any cause except CF (for CF, see 3.04) with A, B, C, or D:

A.FEV1 (see 3.00E) less than or equal to the value in Table I-A or I-B for your age, gender, and height without shoes (see 3.00E3a).

Table I: FEV1 Criteria for 3.02A

 

Heightwithoutshoes(centimeters) 

Heightwithoutshoes(inches)
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