Measurement of Airway Responsiveness

  • Teal S. HallstrandEmail author
  • John D. Brannan
  • Krystelle Godbout
  • Louis-Philippe Boulet
Part of the Respiratory Medicine book series (RM)


Bronchoprovocation tests are used to assess the propensity of the airways to narrow when challenged with a stimulus that induces airway narrowing. The tendency of the airways to respond too much and too easily to various stimuli that induce airway narrowing is called airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), which is present in asthma, and can also be present in other airway disorders and individuals who are at risk for asthma. Tests of AHR are useful as diagnostic tests for asthma and can reveal useful information about the underlying basis of airway dysfunction. Bronchoprovocation tests are divided into direct tests that provide an exogenous stimulus for bronchoconstriction and indirect tests that rely on the endogenous release of mediators that cause bronchoconstriction. Because direct tests are sensitive to structural changes in the airways and lung, such tests are sensitive to detect the presence of asthma, but are not specific for a diagnosis of asthma. In contrast, indirect tests may reflect the type of inflammation present in asthma and are thus more specific for asthma and most useful to confirm a diagnosis of asthma and to understand the specific basis of asthma symptoms. Bronchoprovocation tests should be interpreted along with clinical features of asthma and other respiratory disorders.


Airway responsiveness Airway hyperresponsiveness Asthma Bronchoprovocation tests Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teal S. Hallstrand
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • John D. Brannan
    • 3
  • Krystelle Godbout
    • 4
  • Louis-Philippe Boulet
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep MedicineUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Center for Lung BiologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Respiratory and Sleep MedicineJohn Hunter HospitalNewcastleAustralia
  4. 4.Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de QuébecQuébecCanada

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