The clinical utility of eucapnic voluntary hyperventilation testing for the diagnosis of exercise-induced bronchospasm

Nathan E Brummel, John G Mastronarde, David Rittinger, Gary Philips, Jonathan P Parsons
Journal of Asthma 2009, 46 (7): 683-6

BACKGROUND: Exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB) is the acute, transient airway narrowing associated with exercise. Eucapnic voluntary hyperventilation (EVH) has been used to diagnose EIB in elite athletes and in research settings. The clinical utility of EVH in a general pulmonary practice has not previously been reported. Thus we sought to determine the utility and applicability of EVH testing in the clinical setting.

METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed 178 EVH tests performed at the Ohio State University Medical Center.

RESULTS: A total of 178 EVH studies were performed. Fifty patients (28%) were EIB-positive. A threshold of 60% of the predicted maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV) per minute was used as a criterion for an adequate EVH test. A majority of patients, 127 (71%), had adequate EVH tests. Females were less likely to achieve 60% MVV than males (80% vs. 55%; p = 0.002). Of the 51 patients with inadequate tests, 17 (33%) were EIB-positive; 16 of these 17 were female. Overall, EVH testing was diagnostic in 144 of 178 (81%) of patients tested.

CONCLUSIONS: We present the first description of the clinical use of EVH testing for the diagnosis of EIB in a large pulmonary practice. EVH was diagnostic in a large majority of patients. EVH is an excellent and feasible modality to diagnose EIB in patients seen in a general pulmonary practice. Our data highlight the need for further studies regarding the appropriate minimum threshold minute ventilation for an EVH test and to explain potential mechanisms for seemingly different stimulus thresholds for bronchospasm in males versus females.

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