Effectiveness of screening examinations to detect unrecognized exercise-induced bronchoconstriction

J Pediatr. 2002 Sep;141(3):343-8. doi: 10.1067/mpd.2002.125729.


Objective: To determine if a physician-administered physical examination and screening questionnaire accurately detects exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) in adolescent athletes.

Study design: Cross-sectional study of 256 adolescents participating in organized sports from 3 suburban high schools. The number of persons screened positive for EIB by physical examination and questionnaire was compared with the number of persons with EIB diagnosed by a "gold standard" test that consisted of a 7-minute exercise challenge followed by serial spirometry.

Results: We diagnosed EIB in 9.4% of adolescent athletes. The screening history identified persons with symptoms or a previous diagnosis suggestive of EIB in 39.5% of the participants, but only 12.9% of these persons actually had EIB. Among adolescents with a negative review of symptoms of asthma or EIB, 7.8% had EIB. Among adolescents with no previous diagnosis of asthma, allergic rhinitis, or EIB, 7.2% had EIB diagnosed by exercise challenge. Persons who screened negative on all questions about symptoms or history of asthma, EIB, and allergic rhinitis accounted for 45.8% of the adolescents with EIB.

Conclusions: EIB occurs frequently in adolescent athletes, and screening by physical examination and medical history does not accurately detect it.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma, Exercise-Induced / epidemiology
  • Asthma, Exercise-Induced / prevention & control*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Physical Examination*
  • Prevalence
  • ROC Curve
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spirometry
  • Sports*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Washington / epidemiology