Tracheobronchial mucociliary clearance was measured with the radioaerosol technique in 25 patients with stable, mild asthma, none of whom was taking systemic corticosteroids. The results were compared with those obtained from a control group of 25 healthy subjects matched for age and sex. All patients and healthy subjects were non-smokers. Ventilatory function was significantly impaired in the asthmatic group, which resulted in a more central initial tracheobronchial deposition of inhaled radioaerosol than in the control group. Despite the shorter transit path along the ciliated airways for the tracer radioaerosol in the asthmatic group, mucociliary clearance was found to be significantly poorer than in the healthy control group. This may be important with respect to bronchial mucus plugging.
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