Changes in PH in exhaled breath condensate after specific bronchial challenge test in patients with chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis: a prospective study

BMC Pulm Med. 2015 Sep 30:15:109. doi: 10.1186/s12890-015-0100-5.


Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of the specific inhalation challenge (SIC) on changes of pH values in exhaled breath condensate (EBC) in patients with hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP).

Methods: A prospective study of 85 patients with suspected HP, of whom 63 were diagnosed with HP due to exposure to avian or fungal antigens. In all cases, EBC samples were collected before and after completion of the SIC and pH values were determined.

Results: Taken as a whole, patients with HP did not present changes in EBC pH after SIC. However, considering only patients with exposure to molds, those diagnosed with HP had a significantly more acid pH post-SIC than those with another diagnosis (p = 0.011). This fact is not observed in patients exposed to bird's antigens. A ROC curve showed that a reduction in EBC pH of 0.3 units or more after SIC in patients diagnosed with HP due to exposure to molds had a sensitivity of 30 % (CI: 12.8 to 54.3 %) and a specificity of 100 % (CI: 65.5 to 100 %).

Conclusion: EBC pH may be useful in interpreting SIC results in patients with HP, especially in those patients exposed to molds. Further studies are now required to test the validity of these proposals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alveolitis, Extrinsic Allergic / diagnosis
  • Alveolitis, Extrinsic Allergic / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Fungal / immunology*
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / immunology
  • Bird Fancier's Lung
  • Birds / immunology*
  • Breath Tests
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Cohort Studies
  • Columbidae / immunology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucor / immunology
  • Parakeets / immunology
  • Parrots / immunology
  • Penicillium / immunology
  • Prospective Studies


  • Antigens, Fungal
  • Immunoglobulin G