Methacholine inhaled challenge: Study of correlation among different indices expressing the result

E. Clini, M. Vitacca, S. Scalvini, A. Quadri, K. Foglio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We tested measures of specific airway conductance (sGaw) and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) versus transcutaneous oxygen tension (Ptc,O2) during inhaled methacholine bronchial challenge in 60 out-patients (38 males 22 females, mean age 33 ± 13 yrs). The provocative doses of methacholine needed to produce a 35% decrease of sGaw (PD35,sGaw), a 20% fall in FEV1 (PD20,FEV1) and a 20% decrease in Ptc,O2 (PD20,O2) were simultaneously derived from the dose-response curves. Two groups were identified according to the PD2O,FEV1 result ('responders' with a PD20,FEV1 <2,000 μg methacholine and 'nonresponders' with PD20,FEV1 > 2,000 μg methacholine). All three indices derived from the dose-response curves differed significantly between the groups p <0.00005). The relationship analysis showed a significantly better value for PD20,O2, versus PD35,sGaw (r = 0.98) than versus PD20,FEV1 (r = 0.62). We observed similar baseline levels and variations in arterial oxygen tension (Pa,O2) and Ptc,O2 during methacholine challenge (-25 and -27%, respectively) in 14 randomly studied responders. Thus, inhaled methacholine-induced hypoxaemia (PD20,O2,) seems to reflect PD35,sGaw better than changes in FEV1. Our investigation supports the hypothesis that PD20,O2 could be useful in interpreting the methacholine inhaled challenge. It could be of help in clarifying the pathophysiological meaning of the concurrent hypoxaemia during this challenge, which should be further elucidated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-198
Number of pages5
JournalMonaldi Archives for Chest Disease - Cardiac Series
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • Asthma
  • Bronchial responsiveness
  • Methacholine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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