A new inhalation synchronised dosimeter triggered by low inspiratory flow rates has been assessed. The methacholine challenge test using dosimeter nebulisation with controlled tidal breathing was compared with continuous nebulisation using De Vilbiss No 40 nebulisers with deep inhalations in 11 asthmatic subjects. Within subject PD20 FEV1 values were lower with the dosimeter method than with the continuous nebulisation method (geometric means 158 and 588 micrograms). The repeatability of the dosimeter method with controlled tidal breathing was studied in 11 asthmatic subjects, and the 95% range for a single measurement was +/- 0.72 doubling doses of methacholine. The dosimeter method has greater efficacy because aerosol is delivered during the first part of an inhalation, minimising loss of aerosol outside the respiratory tract. The dosimeter technique combined with controlled tidal breathing appears to be a useful method for carrying out standardised non-specific bronchoprovocation tests.
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