Skip to page contentSkip to footer

Test date______________________   

Test time______________________

This test will be performed in the Pulmonary Function Lab (Module B6/2), at the UW Hospital and Clinics, 600 Highland Avenue. Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment to register.

Finding Your Way

From the parking ramp you will enter through the main hospital entrance. Follow the brown pathway past the “D” elevator lobby to “Clinic Registration.” After you register, you will be directed to the Pulmonary Function Lab “Check In” area.

If you are being seen at the American Family Children’s Hospital (AFCH), please register on the 2nd floor of AFCH. Registration will tell the Pulmonary Function Lab staff you have arrived.

What is a methacholine challenge? 

This is a breathing test to help your doctor see if you may have asthma. You will be asked to breathe in a mist that contains methacholine. This mist may have no effect on your breathing. You may cough or stay the same. You will be asked to breathe increasing doses, with breathing tests done between each dose. The test will take 30 to 90 minutes.

How do I prepare for this test?

  • Do not exercise or eat a heavy meal for at least four hours before the test.

  • Try not to have any caffeine, coffee, tea, cola drinks or chocolate.

  • If you have or have had a recent cold, flu or other illness this test will need to be scheduled two weeks after the end of your illness.

  • Do not smoke on the day of the test.

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant. This test is not recommended during your pregnancy.

You will be asked to hold certain medicines before this test.

  • Albuterol: Hold 6 hours.

  • Atrovent, Combivent: Hold 12 hours.

  • Singulair®: Hold: 36 hours.

  • Serevent®, Flovent®, or Advair®: Hold 36 hours.

  • Tiotropium, Spiriva®, or theophylline: Hold 48 hours.

Note: If you are taking any beta blockers (such as atenolol, inderal, metoprolol, or others) please tell your doctor.

How will I feel after the test?

You should feel fine after your test. If you do have any shortness of breath or wheezing you may be given a few puffs of medicine from an albuterol inhaler to get rid of the symptoms. Albuterol may, but does not always, cause one to feel slightly shaky for a short time. You will be able to eat, drink, and keep your normal routine. Your doctor will discuss your test results with you.


If you have any questions or concerns before the test, please call the Pulmonary Function Lab, Monday-Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, (608) 263-7000.

Toll free 1-800-323-8942. Ask for the Pulmonary Function Lab.

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.