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Nebulised water as a bronchoconstricting challenge in infancy.
  1. C O'Callaghan,
  2. A D Milner,
  3. M S Webb,
  4. A Swarbrick
  1. Department of Child Health, University Hospital, Nottingham.


    The pulmonary response to inhalation challenge with nebulised distilled water was measured in 100 sedated infants with a history of wheeze. Lung function was measured by total body plethysmography. Satisfactory results were obtained in 88 infants. Fifty one were considered to have responded by developing a greater than 20% decrease in specific conductance (sGaw) after nebulised water. Thirty two of these infants had previously been challenged with nebulised saline before but only one showed a greater than 20% decrease in sGaw after saline. Twenty infants who developed signs of bronchoconstriction after challenge with nebulised water were rechallenged 20 minutes later. After the initial challenge a fall in sGaw of greater than 20% was found in 19 of the 20. After a second challenge with nebulised water only 15 (75%) showed a 20% or greater decrease in sGaw. Nine of the 20 infants remained sedated and were rechallenged for a third time. Eight showed a greater than 20% decrease in sGaw. This study indicates that approximately 60% of infants with a history of wheeze will bronchoconstrict in response to inhaled nebulised water and that up to 75% show no evidence of a subsequent refractory period to inhaled water challenge.

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