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Respir Med. 2007 Jul;101(7):1455-61. Epub 2007 Mar 13.

The characteristics of different diagnostic tests in adult mild asthmatic patients: comparison with patients with asthma-like symptoms by gastro-oesophageal reflux.

Author information

1
Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e delle Patologie Emergenti, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Via del Vespro no. 141, 90127 Palermo, Italy. dilo601@unipa.it

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Diagnosing asthma cannot be always easy. It is important to consider the validity of the diagnostic tests, and/or how much more commonly they are positive in patients with asthma compared to healthy subjects and, particularly, to patients with asthma-like symptoms.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the validity of diagnostic tests for asthma, in terms of sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, in patients with bronchial asthma compared to patients affected by gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) with asthma-like symptoms, and healthy control subjects without asthma and gastro-oesophageal reflux (GER).

DESIGN:

Single-center, cross-sectional, observational study.

PATIENTS:

We studied 60 patients with mild asthma, 30 patients with GERD and asthma-like symptoms and 25 healthy control subjects.

MEASUREMENTS:

We measured provocative concentration of methacholine causing a 20% fall in the forced expiratory volume in 1s (MCh PC(20)/FEV(1)), the amplitude percent mean of peak expiratory flow (A%M of PEF), derived from twice-daily readings for >2 weeks, the FEV(1)/forced vital capacity (FEV(1)/FVC) ratio, the eosinophil count in blood and in induced sputum and the serum eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) levels.

RESULTS:

FEV(1)/FVC ratio, A%M of PEF, blood eosinophils counts and serum ECP levels were less sensitive and specific when the reference population was composed of patients with asthma-like symptoms by GER. While, MCh PC(20)/FEV(1) and induced sputum eosinophils count were the most sensitive (both 90%) and specific (89% and 92%, respectively) tests.

CONCLUSION:

Our findings demonstrate that MCh PC(20)/FEV(1) and the induced sputum eosinophil count are the most useful objective tests in patients with mild asthma. All patients with asthma presented both an MCh PC(20)/FEV(1) <1500 microg and eosinophils count in the induced sputum >1%.

PMID:
17360170
DOI:
10.1016/j.rmed.2007.01.014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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