Baseline lung function, exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, and asthma-like symptoms in elite women ice hockey players

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004 Mar;36(3):405-10. doi: 10.1249/


Purpose: Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) is high among ice rink athletes and may be related to exercise ventilation of rink air pollutants. Impaired postchallenge expiratory flows are common for this population; however, baseline lung function and symptoms have not been fully evaluated.

Methods: We examined resting lung function and asthma-like symptoms in relation to airway hyperresponsiveness in National Team female ice hockey players (N = 43). Subjects were grouped according to observed symptoms and medical history as symptomatic ('S') or asymptomatic ('A'). Baseline and postexercise lung function was determined.

Results: Seventeen (39.5%) presented symptoms and 9 (21%) had EIB. Baseline FEV1, FEV1/FVC, and FEF25-75 were different between 'S' and 'A' (102 +/- 14% vs 116 +/- 12%, 77.7 +/- 7.5 vs 88.2 +/- 4.5, and 74 +/- 22% vs 118 +/- 24%, respectively; P < 0.05); FVC and PEF were not different. Ten 'S' athletes had <80% FEV1/FVC; 9 had <70% predicted FEF25-75. Six of 9 EIB+ subjects had symptoms; cough occurred in all six and was related to EIB (chi 2 = 4.23, OR = 6.5, CI = 1.1-44.1; P = 0.039).

Conclusion: Baseline lung function is related to symptoms and precludes EIB in some rink athletes, suggesting that EIB and its development is a heterogeneous and may involve fibrotic as well as inflammatory processes. Small airway dysfunction in ice arena athletes is likely related to internal combustion pollutants emitted from ice resurfacing machines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma, Exercise-Induced / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Hockey*
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Function Tests