Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, 2013, Vol.131 (5), p.1322-1328
Background Exacerbations of asthma are thought to be caused by airflow obstruction resulting from airway inflammation, bronchospasm, and mucus plugging. Histologic evidence suggests the small airways, including acinar air spaces, are involved; however, this has not been corroborated in vivo by measurements of peripheral small-airway function. Objective We sought to determine whether asthma severity is linked to small-airway function, particularly in patients with acute severe asthma. Methods Eighteen subjects admitted for an asthma exacerbation underwent lung function testing, including measures of acinar ventilation heterogeneity (Sacin ) and conductive ventilation heterogeneity (Scond ) using the multiple-breath nitrogen washout. Treatment requirement was defined according to Global Initiative for Asthma scores. Data were compared with those obtained in 19 patients with stable asthma. Results For the asthma exacerbation group, the median FEV1 was 59% of predicted value (95% CI, 45% to 75% of predicted value), the median Scond value was 185% of predicted value (95% CI, 119% to 245% of predicted value), and the median Sacin value was 225% of predicted value (95% CI, 143% to 392% of predicted value). FEV1 (percent predicted) was correlated with Sacin (percent predicted) values (Spearman rho = −0.67, P = .006) but not with Scond (percent predicted) values ( P 〉 .1). The Global Initiative for Asthma score was significantly related to Sacin (percent predicted) (Spearman rho = 0.59, P = .016) but not to Scond (percent predicted) values ( P 〉 .1). The unstable group was characterized by considerably lower forced vital capacity ( P 〈 .001) and higher Scond ( P = .001) values than the unstable group. In a subgroup of 11 unstable patients who could be reviewed after 4 weeks, FEV1 , forced vital capacity, Sacin , and Scond values showed marked improvements. Conclusion Our findings suggest that unstable asthma is characterized by a combined abnormality in the acinar and conductive lung zones, both of which are partly reversible. Functional abnormality in the acinar lung zone in particular showed a direct correlation with airflow obstruction and treatment requirement in patients with acute severe asthma.
Allergy and Immunology ; peripheral gas mixing ; acinar airways ; Severe asthma ; Fundamental and applied biological sciences. Psychology ; Fundamental immunology ; Immunopathology ; Biological and medical sciences ; Medical sciences ; Sarcoidosis. Granulomatous diseases of unproved etiology. Connective tissue diseases. Elastic tissue diseases. Vasculitis ; Acute Disease ; Asthma - physiopathology ; Humans ; Middle Aged ; Male ; Lung - physiopathology ; Forced Expiratory Volume ; Vital Capacity ; Asthma - immunology ; Adult ; Female ; Respiratory Function Tests ; Lung - immunology ; Medical colleges ; Respiratory agents ; Care and treatment ; Asthma ; Index Medicus ; Abridged Index Medicus
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