Responses to isoproterenol in a general population sample

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1978 Nov;118(5):855-61. doi: 10.1164/arrd.1978.118.5.855.


The response of forced expiratory flow to inhalation of isoproterenol was evaluated in a general population sample of 1,063 subjects. Percentage changes in the forced expiratory volume in 1 sec and in the maximal flow measured at 50 percent of the initial expired forced vital capacity appeared to be the best indicators of responsiveness to bronchodilator. Subjects with a history of asthma more often showed responsiveness than did the remainder of the population, even when their initial function was within normal limits. Over-all, a high proportion of subjects with abnormalities in baseline forced expiratory volume in 1 sec or maximal flow after exhalation of 50 per cent of the forced vital capacity showed sufficient improvement after bronchodilator to cause their values after isoproterenol to fall within the normal range. The data suggest that responsiveness to bronchodilator aerosol may be a useful guide to the presence of bronchial reactivity in epidemiologic studies of obstructive airway diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Isoproterenol / pharmacology*
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Maximal Expiratory Flow Rate
  • Maximal Expiratory Flow-Volume Curves
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / drug effects*
  • Vital Capacity


  • Isoproterenol