Methacholine Challenge Testing

The purpose of a methacholine challenge test is to determine the amount of airway irritability of a patient.   

The test usually takes about an hour.

Plan on arriving 15 minutes before your appointment for check-in.  You will check in at the patient registration desk in the main lobby of the hospital.

How Do I Schedule Testing?
To schedule a test you must have a test ordered by a physician.  To make an appointment call (509) 946-4611 ext 2119.

Who Performs The Testing
A Respiratory Therapist specially trained in pulmonary function testing will perform your test. A Pulmonologist will interpret the results and provide your physician with a report.

Indications For PFT Testing
Including but not limited to:

  • The need to exclude a diagnosis of airway hyperactivity.
  • The need to evaluate occupational asthma.
  • The need to assess the severity of hyper responsiveness.
  • The need to assess response to therapeutic interventions

When is a test contraindicated?
Including but not limited to:

  • Heart attack or stroke within 3 months.
  • Known aortic or cerebral aneurysm.
  • Uncontrolled hypertension.
  • Inability to perform spirometry of an acceptable quality.
  • Upper or lower respiratory tract infection with previous six weeks.
  • Current use of cholinesterase-inhibitor medication.
  • Pregnancy
  • Lactation

How Do I Prepare?

  • Plan on arriving 15 minutes before your appointment for check-in.  You will check in at the patient registration desk in the main lobby of the hospital.
  • Do not participate in significant exercise or have exposure to extreme heat or cold for 2 hours prior to testing.
  • If you are having respiratory symptoms the day of the test, please call 942-2119 and notify the respiratory therapist before arriving for your test.
  • Do not eat or drink anything with caffeine (coffee, cola, tea, chocolate) for at least 12 hours prior to testing.
  • Do not smoke for at least 6 hours prior to testing.

72 hours prior to test:
Stop all anti-histamines

48 hours prior to test:
Stop long-acting bronchodilators (Theophylline, Theodur, Serevent, Advair, Foradil)
Stop anticholinergics (Combivent, Atrovent, Duoneb, Tilade, Intal)

24 hours prior to test:
Stop Leikotriene modifiers (Singulair, Accolate, Syflo)

8 hours prior to test:
Stop all bronchodilators (Proventil, maxair, Ventolin, Albuterol, Xopenex, Accuneb.

If you are taking a beta blocker drug (eg, atenolol or propranolol) please discuss this with your physician before scheduling your test as this medication may need to be held before testing.

What do I do during testing?
You will be asked to inhale a mist that contains different concentrations of methacholine.  The mist is produced by a device called a nebulizer and inhaled through a mouthpiece.  Before the test begins, and after each period of inhalation, you will be asked to blow forcefully into a spirometer.

How do I get my test results?
You may receive a copy of your test results by contacting the Health Information Department at 946-4611 ext 2017.