Changes in frequency spectra of breath sounds during histamine challenge test in adult asthmatics and healthy control subjects

Chest. 1994 Jan;105(1):122-31. doi: 10.1378/chest.105.1.122.


Air-flow standardized breath sounds were recorded at the chest and at the trachea during histamine challenge test and after subsequent bronchodilation in 12 asthmatics and 6 healthy controls for spectral analysis, to be compared with simultaneous changes in spirometric variables. Of all the lung sound variables measured, the changes in median frequency of the power spectrum (F50) of tracheal expiratory sounds were found to correlate best (r = 0.853, p < 0.0001) with changes in FEV1. The increase of F50 during histamine challenge was significantly larger in asthmatics than in healthy control subjects (p < 0.005). The provocative dose of histamine inducing a decrease of 15 percent in FEV1 (PD15FEV1) and the provocative dose causing an increase of 30 percent in tracheal expiratory F50 (PD30F50) were significantly related (r = 0.754, p = 0.012). In asthmatics, the breath sound frequency distribution in terms of median frequency reflected acute changes in airways obstruction with high sensitivity and specificity. The present method for breath sound analysis can be applied for patients with limited cooperation during bronchial challenge tests.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Albuterol / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Asthma / prevention & control
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests*
  • Bronchoconstriction / drug effects
  • Bronchoconstriction / physiology
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology
  • Histamine*
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Male
  • Maximal Midexpiratory Flow Rate / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / physiology
  • Respiratory Sounds / physiology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sound Spectrography
  • Spirometry
  • Thorax
  • Trachea


  • Histamine
  • Albuterol