We hypothesized that a new test of infant lung function, less affected by shifts in lung volume, might better detect bronchodilator effects. Using the raised volume forced expiration technique (RVFET), the effect of a bronchodilator on lung function was studied in 22 infants with a history of recurrent wheeze and five healthy infants. Forced expiratory volume in 0.75 s (FEV0.75), forced expiratory vital capacity (FVC), and forced expiratory flow at 75% of FVC (FEF75%) were measured by forcing expiration, using an inflatable jacket from a lung volume set by an inspiratory pressure of 20 cm H2O. A minimum of five measurements were made at baseline and following the administration of 500 microg of salbutamol from a metered dose inhaler via a small volume metal spacer. Changes in lung function in the group of 25 infants who received salbutamol were compared to seven infants who received placebo aerosol. No significant changes occurred in measures of lung function following salbutamol administration when compared to baseline or placebo despite a significant increase in heart rate. A shift in lung volume is unlikely the reason why infants do not demonstrate a change in forced expiration following bronchodilator administration.