Exhaled breath condensate (EBC) is composed of droplets of airway surface liquid (ASL) diluted by water vapor. The goal of this study was to determine if the composition of EBC is affected by changes in airway caliber, minute ventilation, or forceful exhalation, factors that may differ among subjects with asthma in cross-sectional studies.
In a group of subjects with asthma, we measured the effects of the following: (1) a series of three deep-inspiration and forceful-exhalation maneuvers; (2) a doubling of minute ventilation; and (3) acute bronchoconstriction induced by methacholine on EBC volume, dilution of ASL, and concentration of cysteinyl leukotrienes (CysLTs).
With the exception of an increase in EBC volume with increased minute ventilation, there were no significant changes in the volume, dilution, or levels of CysLTs in EBC introduced by each of these factors. The CIs surrounding the differences introduced by each factor showed that the maximum systematic errors due to these factors were modest.
These results indicate that changes in airway caliber, minute ventilation, or breathing pattern among subjects with asthma do not significantly alter the measurements of mediator concentrations in EBC.