What is bronchoprovocation testing?
Bronchoprovocation testing includes several tests used to diagnose asthma. Asthma is a chronic lung disease marked by acute flare-ups of inflammation and swelling of the airways in the lungs.
Bronchoprovocation tests measure lung function after exposure to common asthma symptom triggers. Asthma triggers used in the test include cold air, exercise, or inhaling a mist containing a substance that causes lung constriction in people with asthma.
Bronchoprovocation testing is only one method to diagnose asthma. Discuss all the asthma-testing options with your doctor to understand which choices are right for you.
Types of bronchoprovocation testing
The types of bronchoprovocation testing include:
Cold air challenge test, which measures how the lungs react to exposure to cold air
Exercise challenge test, which measures how the lungs react to exercise on a treadmill
Inhalation tests, which measure how the lungs react to exposure to substances that cause lung constriction in people with asthma. The substances are dissolved in a mist that you inhale. The substance is often methacholine. Histamine or mannitol may also be used.
Other procedures that may be performed
Bronchoprovocation tests are a type of pulmonary (lung) function test. Your doctor will likely recommend other pulmonary function tests to diagnose asthma and monitor your condition. Other pulmonary function tests include:
- Arterial blood gas test to measure oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood
Body plethysmography to determine how much air is present in your lungs when you take a deep breath. It also measures how much air is left in your lungs after you exhale. Bronchoprovocation tests and other pulmonary function tests can be done at the same time as a body plethysmography using the same equipment.
Lung diffusion capacity to measure how well oxygen moves into your blood from your lungs
Peak expiratory flow to measure the speed of exhaling and lung constriction. People with asthma often use this test routinely to monitor their asthma control at home.
Pulse oximetry to measure oxygen levels in the blood
Spirometry to measure the rate and the amount of air that you inhale and exhale
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- Bronchoprovocation tests in children and adults. World Allergy Association. http://www.worldallergy.org/UserFiles/file/Bronchial%20provocation%20tests-Rosenwasser.pdf.
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