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.

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 509-946-4611, ext 2017.

How do I schedule an appointment?

Tests must be ordered by a physician. To make an appointment call 509-946-4611 ext 2119.