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Methacholine Challenge Experiences
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An_257725 posted:
The Asthma Community either has outdated experiences or non-relevant discussions aimed towards the Methacholine Challenge. Since there's not much firsthand information out there for first time challengers, I thought I'd share my experience and ask others to share theirs.

I'm a 26 year old male and first diagnosed with asthma as a child. I recently visited a pulmonary specialist (lung guy) about potential sleep apnea. Of course, this led to a longer discussion about my lungs. He had his doubts that asthma still plagued my life since a rescue inhaler (albuterol sulfate) began to be mostly ineffective. He recommended a Methacholine Challenge - a test that tests if one has asthma.

Today, I went to a hospital to have this test. They asked me not to use any inhalers or nebulizer 8 hours beforehand. At the hospital, they began with a breathing test to see at which percentage my lungs breathed. I breathed at 97% - an indication of someone with no asthma, especially during my region's pinnacle of seasonal allergies (which I am highly allergic to everything outdoors).

They explained that methacholine (liquid) is a synthetic that is placed into a nebulizer (a machine that turns liquid into vapor for inhalation) and inhaled to induce an asthmatic attack. If one has asthma, they will have an attack, if they don't have asthma, they won't have an attack. Furthermore, for those who feel the effects of the methacholine, they must have their lung capacity lower at least 20% to confirm the patient has asthma.

They explained that methacholine came in four strengths, which they would gradually work towards the strongest at each inhalation; granted the ones before did not induce asthma. I cannot provide firsthand experience beyond the first one. After five inhalations of the first (weakest) methacholine, I went into an asthma attack. They then tested my breathing, which I dropped 23% and began breathing at 74% lung capacity. This was a rather severe reaction for the Methacholine Challenge. They provided me with an albuterol nebulizer that helped immensely, and brought my breathing back up to normal standards.


I tested positive for asthma within minutes. If you've had asthma attacks before, then you know what's in store; tight chest, shallow breathing, and, most likely, a bit of panic. Otherwise, the Methacholine Challenge is standard for a decisive answer on whether one is pulmonarily defunct.


How did everyone else do on theirs? Or is there other vital information for Methacholine Challenge newcomers that I've missed?

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