This report outlines the clinical and physiological features in 50 asthmatic patients with chronic allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis in whom the diagnosis was made from 2 to 25 years ago (mean duration 10-9 years). From a questionnaire and analysis of the peak expiratory flow rate measurements it was found that they were worse in the winter months, corresponding to the maximal concentrations of Aspergillus fumigatus in the atmosphere. Nineteen patients reported daily sputum production of up to an eggcupful or more, and 24 had noticed sputum 'plugs' in the previous year. Reduction of vital capacity (VC) was found in 20 patients, of forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) in 38 patients, and of maximal expiratory flow at 50% VC breathing air (V50air) in 47 patients. Nine patients had significantly reduced gas transfer factor (DLCO). Significant improvement (more than 15%) in FEV1 after inhaled bronchodilator was shown by only 17 patients. There were statistically significant correlations between the degree of reduction in the physiological measurements of VC, FEV1, and V50air with the age of the patient at the time of the study and the later in life the diagnosis of aspergillosis was made, whereas the reduction in DLCO was also significantly related to the duration of aspergillosis. Prospective studies are needed for a proper assessment of any protective effect of treatment on the pathophysiological changes due to the disease over many years.
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