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Tuesday 01 August 2006

Dyspnea perception and reversibility of methacholine-induced unlimited airway narrowing in asthmatics.

By: Malakauskas K, Sitkauskiene B, Stravinskaite K, Sakalauskas R.

J Asthma 2006 Aug;43(6):463-7

The hypothesis was that asthmatics might experience impaired perception of dyspnea and salbutamol-induced reversibility during unlimited airway narrowing. A total of 38 asthmatics (18 to 59 years of age) were examined. All patients underwent the methacholine challenge test. According to the dose-response curve to methacholine, they were categorized as having either unlimited airway narrowing (UAN group) (n = 20) or response plateau (RP group) (n = 18). Reversibility of methacholine-induced bronchoconstriction was measured 20 minutes after the inhalation of 400 microg of salbutamol to compare postbronchodilator FEV1 with baseline FEV1. Dyspnea perception was evaluated using the Borg Scale to calculate a perception score at a 20% decrease in FEV1 (PS20) and the slope alpha of the regression line between the changes in Borg scores and the reduction in FEV1 as percentage of the baseline value. Subjects in the UAN group exhibited significantly lower PS20 compared with the RP group (1.45+/- 0.23 vs. 2.84 +/- 0.35, p = 0.002); the mean of the slope values was higher in the RP group than it was in the UAN group (0.150 +/- 0.015 vs. 0.095 +/- 0.006, p = 0.003). Salbutamol-induced reversibility was significantly lower in the UAN group (81 +/- 1.4 % of baseline FEV1) compared with patients from the RP group (91 +/- 1.1% of baseline FEV1; p < 0.001). In conclusion, asthmatics during methacholine-induced unlimited airway narrowing exhibit diminished perception of dyspnea and lower bronchial reversibility to the baseline 20 minutes after inhalation of salbutamol. This suggests that more careful monitoring of the lung function for timely recognition of asthma deteriorations and adequate bronchodilatory therapy during severe acute attacks should be recommended for such patients.

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