Objective: This retrospective observational cohort study aimed to assess the real-life application of bronchial challenge test (BCT) in the management of preschool children presenting with atypical recurrent respiratory symptoms (ARRS). Methods: We included children aged 0.5–6 years referred to a pediatric-pulmonology clinic who underwent BCT using methacholine or adenosine between 2012 and 2018 due to ARRS. BCT was considered positive based on spirometry results and/or wheezing, desaturation, and tachypnea reactions. We collected data on demographics, BCT results, pre-BCT and post-BCT treatment changes, and 3–6 months post-BCT compliance and symptom control. The primary outcome measure was the change in treatment post-BCT (step-up or step-down). Results: A total of 228 children (55% males) with a mean age of 4.2 ± 0.6 years underwent BCT (52% adenosine-BCT, 48% methacholine-BCT). Children referred for methacholine were significantly younger compared with adenosine (3.6 ± 1.2 vs. 4.2 ± 1.2 years, p <.01). Methacholine and adenosine BCTs were positive in 95% and 61%, respectively. Overall, changes in management were observed in 122 (53.5%) children following BCT, with 83 (36.4%) being stepped up and 37 (17%) being stepped down. Significantly more children in the methacholine group were stepped up compared with the adenosine group (46% vs. 28%, p =.004). During the follow-up assessment, we observed a clinical improvement in 119/162 (73.4%) of the children, with nearly 87% being compliant. Conclusion: This study demonstrates the importance of BCT in the management of preschool children presenting to pediatric pulmonary units with ARRS. The change in treatment and subsequent clinical improvement observed highlight the added value of BCT to the pulmonologist.
- airway hyper-responsiveness
- bronchial provocation tests