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Friday 01 July 2005

Reversibility test in the early stages of bronchial asthma.

By: Mariotta S, Sposato B, Ricci A, Bruno P, Aquilini M, Mannino F.

J Asthma 2005 Jul-Aug;42(6):487-91

In the early stages of bronchial asthma, it is frequent to find subjects with a positive history and an FEV1 or FEV1/FVC > 80% of the predicted value. This study investigated if the test of reversibility showed a reversible airway obstruction (RAO) in 291 subjects with the above clinical and functional features. Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), and expiratory flows (PEF, MEF50, FEF(25-75)) were registered before and 20 minutes after salbutamol administration (200 mcg by MDI). Of 291 subjects, FEV1 increased in 73 (25%) after bronchodilator > or = 12% compared to baseline; the number of subjects with a > or = 35% increase in MEF50 or FEF(25-75) were similar in terms of percentage (respectively, 29.2% and 29%), whereas those with increases in FVC (> or = 12%) and in PEF (> or = 15%) were significantly lower (respectively, 2.7% and 12.3%). The percentage of subjects with RAO (FEV1 increase after bronchodilator > or = 12%) was lower (12%) in the subgroup (108 subjects), with an MEF50 > or = 70% of the value predicted at the baseline assessment, and higher (36%) in the subjects of the subgroup (183 subjects) with an MEF50 < 70%. In conclusion, it is advisable to carry out reversibility tests in all subjects with symptoms indicative of asthma even if their functional tests are "normal" because in a considerable number of cases the RAO was found to confirm the suspected diagnosis and provided a more reliable classification of the disease.

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