Background and objective: Currently there are few data available regarding the use of impulse oscillometry parameters to assess airflow obstruction during standardized methacholine challenge testing.
Methods: Methacholine challenge tests were performed using impulse oscillometry and conventional spirometry in 64 healthy and 39 asthmatic children, in order to determine airway resistance (R) and reactance (X) at frequencies of 5-35 Hz, as well as FEV(1).
Results: Baseline R and X were significantly different between the healthy and asthmatic children, with the most discriminating parameter being resistance at 5 Hz (R5). In asthmatic children BHR was well demonstrated by FEV(1), X5 and X10, but not by R5. However, when the actual R5 values obtained in this study were compared with the predicted values, there appeared to be differences in the lung function measures that corresponded to varying methacholine concentrations. In addition, the PC20_FEV(1) and PC70_X5 were significantly more sensitive than other parameters for methacholine challenge testing.
Conclusions: Measuring resistance at 5 Hz using impulse oscillometry facilitates significant differentiation of baseline lung function between asthmatic and healthy children. Additionally, X may be a suitable replacement for PC20 in methacholine challenge testing.