Using the mannitol challenge asthma test in non-clinical settings may yield false results. The test is widely accepted as an effective means in diagnosing asthma, but its general accuracy has not been fully explored.
The mannitol challenge test is an easy and cost-effective way to detect whether the airways are likely to contract or narrow abnormally. These reactions are associated with asthma.
In the study involving 772 participants, the diagnosis of asthma was confirmed in those who experienced wheezing, but the test yielded low predictive results for asthma in the general population. This means among the general population, a positive test could not reliably detect asthma.
Senior author of the study Dr. Graham Hall explained, “The mannitol challenge test is increasingly used to screen for asthma in groups such as defense force recruits, athletes, and asymptomatic young people participating in sports. Our study highlights the need for caution when interpreting results of this test in non-clinical populations.”