Improved Lung Function Testing for Transgender People

Improved Lung Function Testing for Transgender People

Royal Perth Bentley Group


Coordinating Principal Investigator: Mr Finn Chilcott

Co-Investigators: Sharon Lagan, Elizabeth Salamon, Dr Elizabeth Smith

In Australia, there has been a rise in transgender individuals seeking gender-affirming healthcare and requiring healthcare services including at Royal Perth Hospital. Transgender people face numerous barriers in accessing healthcare and will often avoid healthcare due to healthcare providers lacking in transgender health education, discrimination, refusal of care and abuse. 

Transgender, intersex and/or gender diverse (TIGD) people have higher rates of anxiety and depression. They are also at increased risk of respiratory conditions like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma. Despite this, there is a lack of understanding regarding how to accurately assess respiratory health in transgender and gender diverse populations. Given the prevalence of transgender respiratory issues, it is increasingly important for healthcare professionals to understand how to accurately assess respiratory health for this vulnerable population. 

This research project aims to fill this gap by collecting lung function data from healthy transgender, intersex, and gender diverse (TIGD) individuals. Lung function testing plays a crucial role in diagnosing and managing respiratory diseases. However, existing reference values, such as those provided by the Global Lung Function Initiative (GLI), are designed for a cisgender population and do not account for gender diversity. This project will contribute to filling this gap in knowledge, potentially leading to improved diagnosis and treatment for transgender and gender diverse individuals. 

By understanding the impact of gender-affirming therapies on lung function and addressing the limitations of current reference values, the project aims to provide evidence-based guidance for healthcare professionals. The findings of this study will inform healthcare professionals on the most appropriate predicted set selection for transgender and gender diverse patients. This may lead to more accurate diagnosis and treatment, ultimately improving healthcare outcomes for this population. 

This research project represents a crucial step towards enhancing healthcare for transgender and gender-diverse individuals. By addressing the unique healthcare needs of this population and providing evidence-based recommendations, this research contributes to a more inclusive and equitable healthcare system. 

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