Specificity and sensitivity of methacholine inhalation challenge in normal and asthmatic children

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1984 Aug;74(2):154-8. doi: 10.1016/0091-6749(84)90279-3.


The provocative dose of inhaled methacholine required to cause a 20% drop in the forced expiratory volume in 1 sec was evaluated in two selected pediatric populations. On the basis of a standardized respiratory questionnaire, 165 individuals 5 to 21 yr of age were identified. Included were 110 normal nonatopic individuals and 55 current asthmatic subjects. Methacholine inhalation challenges were performed by use of a standard inhalation procedure. Fifty-four (98.1%) of the asthmatic subjects responded to methacholine with a 20% drop in the forced expiratory volume in 1 sec. Seventy (63.1%) of the normal individuals did not respond to methacholine. The specificity and sensitivity of the methacholine challenge was best obtained at a provocative dose of 100 breath units of methacholine.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Child
  • False Negative Reactions
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methacholine Compounds*


  • Methacholine Compounds