Objectives: HIV disease is frequently complicated by episodic acute bronchitis, suggesting the presence of chronic bronchial inflammation. To further examine this concept, we investigated the possible association of nonspecific airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and HIV disease.
Design: Methacholine inhalation challenge studies were performed on 66 HIV-seropositive and 8 HIV-seronegative members of the Pulmonary Complications of HIV Infection Study Cohort. AHR was defined as 20% or more decline in FEV1 from the postdiluent value after inhalation of 125 or less cumulative breath units. The prevalence of AHR in HIV-seropositive cohort members was compared with that in matched control subjects who had undergone methacholine challenge testing for two unrelated studies. Demographic, behavioral, and clinical features in HIV cohort members with and without AHR were contrasted. The relationship between AHR and the occurrence of episodic airway disease or symptoms suggestive of airway disease was examined.
Results: AHR was not more prevalent in HIV-seropositive cohort members than control subjects (19.3% vs 12.9%; p>0.1). Within the cohort, AHR was detected more frequently in members with than without a history of asthma (60% vs 16%; p<0.05). A greater proportion with than without AHR had 1 or more episode of pneumonia within 2 years (46% vs 9%; p<0.01), 1 or more asthma episode during the study period (39% vs 1.9%; p<0.001), or wheeze noted during clinic visits (62% vs 17%; p<0.01). The proportion that experienced acute bronchitis did not differ in the two groups.
Conclusions: This study suggests that HIV-infected persons do not have increased prevalence of nonspecific AHR. In HIV disease, AHR is associated asthma, but not episodic acute bronchitis. Thus, the possibility that airway injury without demonstrable AHR might complicate HIV disease remains.