An analysis was undertaken to determine the optimal cut-off separating an asthmatic from a normal response to a bronchial provocation challenge by exercise and the inhalation of methacholine or histamine in children and young adults. Data were extracted, after appropriate correction, from published studies available in Medline of large random populations that complied with preset criteria of suitability for analysis, and the distribution of bronchial reactivity in the healthy population for exercise and inhalation challenges were derived. Studies on the response to exercise and methacholine inhalation in 232 young asthmatics of varying severity were carried out by the authors and the distribution of bronchial reactivity of a young asthmatic population obtained. Comparisons of the sensitivity and specificity of the challenges were aided by the construction of receiver operating characteristic curves. The optimal cut-off point of the fall in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) after exercise was 13%, with a sensitivity (power) of 63% and specificity of 94%. For inhalation challenges, the optimal cut-off point for the dose of methacholine or histamine causing a 20% fall in FEV1 was 6.6 μmol, with a sensitivity of 92% and a specificity of 89%. The cut-off values were not materially affected by the severity of the asthma and provide objective data with which to evaluate the results of bronchial provocation challenges in children and young adults.
- Bronchial reactivity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine