Mary Therese O'Donnell

Project title: The Predictive Value of the Methacholine Challenge Test in Seattle Firefighters

Degree: MPH | Program: Occupational Medicine (Occ Med) | Project type: Thesis/Dissertation
Completed in: 1993 | Faculty advisor: Scott Barnhart


Acute changes in pulmonary function have been shown to occur as a result of firefighting. Exposure to the products of combustion pyrolysis is associated with increased airways responsiveness and decreases FEV1 and FVC. Immediate effects are due to increased concentrations of crbon dioxide and respiratory irritants.

Long term pulmonary dysfunction is less well established but has been seen to follow acute exposure. However, risk factors for chronic respiratory changes, the prevalence of these changes among people exposed to fires and the degree to permanent impairment are poorly characterized.

A pharmacologic bronchoprovocative challenge is a laboratory technique that allows one to determine the presence or absence of bronchial hyperreactivity. Methacholine, a parasympathomimetic synthetic analog of acetylcholine, is a nonspecific inhalational bronchoprovocative agent. In order to interpret a bronchoprovocative challenge, it is necessary to compare the dose of the challenging agent administered with the degree of bronchoconstriction, as monitored by changes in measurements of FEV1, airway resistance and FVC.

Taken from the beginning of thesis.