Ten infants under the age of 1 year each of whom gave a history of recurrent wheezing attacks were studied with a total body plethysmograph. All the infants were free of wheeze when studied and were sedated with chloral hydrate. All 10 showed a significant deterioration in lung function when given nebulised water for two minutes with an increase in airways resistance and a decrease in specific conductance at one and five minutes after nebulisation compared with baseline readings. Measurements returned to baseline values within 15 minutes. When the same amount of nebulised water was given 20 minutes after nebulised salbutamol, however, there was no significant deterioration in lung function at one and five minutes after administration of nebulised water. We conclude that the airways were protected against the bronchoconstricting effect of nebulised water by the beta 2 adrenoreceptor stimulant salbutamol.
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