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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557On-line version ISSN 1678-4782


SOUZA, Ana C. T. G.  and  PEREIRA, Carlos A. C.. Bronchial provocation tests using methacholine, cycle ergometer exercise and free running in children with intermittent asthma. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2005, vol.81, n.1, pp.65-72. ISSN 0021-7557.

OBJECTIVE: To compare airway responsiveness to methacholine, cycle ergometer exercise and free running in children with intermittent asthma. METHODS: A randomized study was conducted with 30 children of both genders with intermittent asthma. Each child was submitted to challenge testing on three separate days, in random order: a) Methacholine challenge using a dosimeter; b) Exercise challenge testing - free running along a 50-meter-long corridor; c) Dry-air exercise challenge on a cycle ergometer. Target heart rate during exercise was 80 to 90% of the maximum predicted value. Spirometry was performed 3, 6,10,15,20 and 30 minutes after exercise. Exercise-induced bronchospasm was defined as a decrease in FEV1 of >10% in comparison to pretest values. RESULTS: Mean age was 11±3 years. FEV1 and FEV1/FVC ratios were normal and similar before all provocation tests. The maximum heart rate was 178±7 bpm during cycling and 181±6 bpm during the free running test (p > 0.05). Significant bronchospasm was observed with methacholine in 23 cases, after free running in 19 and after cycling in 14 children (p < 0.05, methacholine vs exercise tests). Taking all FEV1 measurements after exercise into account, the free running test resulted in greater exercise-induced bronchospasm in comparison with exercise made on a cycle ergometer (p = 0.003, c2 = 8.948). There was a significant, but poor, correlation between the maximum percentage decrease in FEV1 after free running and cycling (r = 0.46, p < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Methacholine challenge identifies a greater number of asthmatics in comparison to exercise tests. When bronchial provocation test with methacholine is not available, free running should be the test of choice due to its simplicity and greater ability to induce bronchospasm.

Keywords : Asthma; bronchial provocation tests; methacholine chloride; exercise test; exercise-induced asthma.

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