Utility of a provocation test for diagnosis of chronic pigeon Breeder's disease

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1998 Sep;158(3):862-9. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.158.3.9710036.


Chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis (CHP) can be difficult to differentiate from other interstitial lung diseases (ILD). To determine the diagnostic usefulness of a provocation test (PT), 17 patients with CHP induced by avian antigens, 17 with other ILD, and five healthy control subjects were challenged with pigeon serum. After PT, an increase in body temperature (BT) and a decrease in FVC, PaO2 and SaO2% were observed in all patients with CHP and in three with ILD. No reaction was noticed in healthy subjects. ROC curves showed that for FVC the best cut point was a drop of 16% displaying sensitivity (S): 76%, specificity (SP): 81%, positive predictive value (PPV): 81%, and negative predictive value (NPV): 83%. For a drop of 3 mm Hg in PaO2 or 3% SaO2, S was 88% for both, SP was 82 and 86%, PPV was 81 and 82%, and NPV was 82 and 86%, respectively. An increase of BT > 0.5(o) C showed S, 100%; SP, 82%; PPV, 100%; NPV, 86%. A univariate regression analysis confirmed that changes in BT and FVC are predicting values of CHP: RR, 82.5 (CI, 10.43 to 651.76) and 1.21 (CI, 1.06 to 1.36). There were no challenge test complications. These findings suggest that PT is a useful tool for diagnosis of CHP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alveolitis, Extrinsic Allergic / diagnosis
  • Animals
  • Antigens
  • Bird Fancier's Lung / diagnosis*
  • Bird Fancier's Lung / immunology
  • Body Temperature / physiology
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Columbidae / immunology
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Fever / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • ROC Curve
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Vital Capacity / physiology


  • Antigens
  • Oxygen