Normal Vital Capacity Calculator

Provides an alternative way to estimate vital capacity based on gender, age and height when inspiratory, tidal and expiratory volumes can’t be measured.

In the text below the form you can find more information about the two methods that can be used to determine vital capacity.

The normal vital capacity calculator uses patient gender, age and height to estimate vital capacity when the normal lung volume determinations (inspiratory, tidal and expiratory) are not available.

VC is part of the four respiratory capacities, along with inspiratory, functional residual and total lung capacity.

The VC estimation is gender specific:

Male Vital Capacity in L = ((27.63 – 0.112 x Age in years) x Height in cm) / 1000

Female Vital Capacity in L = ((21.78 – 0.101 x Age in years) x Height in cm) / 1000

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Steps on how to print your input & results:

1. Fill in the calculator/tool with your values and/or your answer choices and press Calculate.

2. Then you can click on the Print button to open a PDF in a separate window with the inputs and results. You can further save the PDF or print it.

Please note that once you have closed the PDF you need to click on the Calculate button before you try opening it again, otherwise the input and/or results may not appear in the pdf.


Variables and formula

The above tool estimates vital capacity based on subject gender, age in years and height in centimeters. This method is particularly useful when measurement of pulmonary volumes, through spirometry, is not available.

Subject age is taken into account as a factor because vital capacity increases during the 20s and 30s and then follows a steady decrease towards the 50s.

Height is factored in the formulas because taller individuals tend to have higher vital capacities compared to individuals of normal or subnormal height.

The VC estimation is gender specific (men tend to have a higher volume than women) and the equations used are the following:

Male Vital Capacity in L = ((27.63 – 0.112 x Age in years) x Height in cm) / 1000

Female Vital Capacity in L = ((21.78 – 0.101 x Age in years) x Height in cm) / 1000


About vital capacity

Vital capacity is defined as the sum of the volume of air inhaled and exhaled during normal respiration, the volume of air possible to be inhaled during forced inhalation and that possible to be exhaled during forced exhalation.

It is one of the four respiratory capacities calculated while performing functional lung testing, along inspiratory capacity, functional residual capacity and total lung capacity.

Lung spirometry helps measure the following three respiratory volumes:

Respiratory volume Women (L) Men (L) Definition
Inspiratory reserve volume 1.9 3.1 The additional volume of air possible to be inhaled forcefully after a normal inspiration.
Tidal volume 0.5 0.5 The volume of air inhaled and exhaled during one normal breathing: inhalation and exhalation.
Expiratory reserve volume 0.7 1.2 The volume of air that can be extracted forcefully during exhalation, after the expiration of the normal volume

Similar to VC, functional residual capacity is dependent on the residual volume which can be measured directly (complex method) but is most often estimated through formulas.



1. Godfrey MS, Jankowich MD. The Vital Capacity Is Vital: Epidemiology and Clinical Significance of the Restrictive Spirometry Pattern. Chest. 2016; 149(1):238-51.

2. Steltner H, Vogel M, Sprung E, Timmer J, Guttmann J, Sorichter S. Incomplete forced expiration - estimating vital capacity by a mathematical method. Respiration. 2004; 71(4):353-9.

3. Marini JJ, Rodriguez RM, Lamb VJ. Involuntary breath-stacking. An alternative method for vital capacity estimation in poorly cooperative subjects. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1986; 134(4):694-8.

Specialty: Pulmonology

System: Respiratory

Objective: Determination

Type: Calculator

No. Of Variables: 3

Article By: Denise Nedea

Published On: June 20, 2017

Last Checked: June 20, 2017

Next Review: June 20, 2023