The relationship between airway hyperresponsiveness and pulmonary symptoms was examined longitudinally in 52 subjects. Subjects were part of a larger study, the Natural History of Asthma, and had repeated measures of airway hyperresponsiveness using methacholine. Atopy was determined using skin tests and serum IgE levels. The subjects completed a standardized respiratory questionnaire. Each subject reported respiratory and pulmonary symptoms at either their initial or follow-up visit. The subjects did not, however, have a physician-confirmed diagnosis of asthma. Subjects were divided into groups according to the current status of their respiratory symptoms. The four groups included subjects who were initially normal but developed respiratory symptoms at follow-up; subjects who had symptoms at all visits; subjects with respiratory symptoms at their initial visit but who had no symptoms at follow-up; and subjects who had respiratory symptoms prior to their initial visit and who did not have a recurrence during follow-up. There was no statistical difference in airway hyperresponsiveness, IgE, or skin test scores at the initial visits. Subjects who had airway responsiveness were significantly more atopic than subjects who did not have airway responsiveness. Subjects were classified as "consistently positive," "variable," or "consistently negative" responders according to the pattern of methacholine-induced airway hyperresponsiveness. Overall, among the four groups, 33% were consistently positive at all visits, 43% were variable, and 22% were consistently negative. Airway hyperresponsiveness was statistically associated with atopy, but not necessarily associated with questionnaire-based respiratory symptomatology. These factors need to be considered in epidemiological studies of asthma utilizing respiratory questionnaires.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine