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Chest. 1991 May;99(5):1183-5.

Use of an impedance meter for measuring airways responsiveness to histamine.

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Department of Medicine, Charing Cross Hospital, London, England.


We compared spirometry (FEV1) and airway impedance (z) in the assessment of airway responsiveness to histamine. Airway impedance was measured by the oscillator technique during quiet breathing; both measurements were made twice after each increment of histamine during the challenge. Percentage change in impedance was related to percentage change in FEV1 according to: -delta z = 1.09-2.66 (delta FEV1), r = -0.73, p less than 0.01, ie, impedance increased on average 2.7 times as much as FEV1 fell. The cut-off point for the standard test is the histamine concentration giving a 20 percent fall of FEV1 (PC20(FEV1)). The corresponding cut-off value chosen for impedance was a 30 percent increase (PC30(z)). (PC30(z)) = 0.74 (PC20(FEV1))-0.48, rs = 0.88, where rs is the Spearman rank correlation coefficient. Thus, impedance is a more sensitive index than FEV1 because a smaller dose of histamine gave a diagnostic result. Impedance is a practical alternative to FEV1, being less arduous for the patient and requiring little cooperation.

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