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Bronchial challenge test

A lung function test for asthma

Also known as a mannitol provocation test, this straightforward assessment measures lung sensitivity to diagnose asthma

About

Asthma is a common condition that causes lung inflammation and makes it difficult to breathe. This inflammation is sometimes caused by allergies or overly sensitive airways. A bronchial challenge test ‘challenges’ your airways by asking you to inhale doses of a powder called mannitol and then measures your lungs' reaction.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    The test involves doing a baseline spirometry — a simple test that measures how much air you can exhale after taking a very deep breath. You'll do this by breathing into a mouthpiece attached to a specialised device. Next, you'll breathe in several doses of mannitol powder through an inhaler. Mannitol is a sugar-based substance that causes a mild reaction if you have sensitive airways. After each dose, your respiratory physiologist will repeat the spirometry to assess for any changes. The whole test takes around an hour.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain the test to you and answer any questions you may have. They'll let you know if there is anything specific you need to do to prepare. This may include avoiding certain medications, caffeine, smoking or vigorous exercise before your test.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    Your consultant will review the results of the test with you and let you know if any other assessments are needed. If your test confirms a diagnosis of asthma, your consultant will talk to you about the best treatment options to help you manage your condition.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

  • The Lister Hospital Facility

    The Lister Hospital

    Chelsea Bridge Road

    London

    SW1W 8RH

    Appointments 020 7811 4000
    Enquiries 020 3131 4978

  • facility-pgh-hero-579x579

    The Princess Grace Hospital

    42-52 Nottingham Place

    London W1U 5NY

    Appointments 020 3131 7216
    Enquiries 020 3130 6833

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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