Undiagnosed exercise-induced bronchoconstriction in ski-mountaineers

Int J Sports Med. 2005 Apr;26(3):233-7. doi: 10.1055/s-2004-830546.


Because the practise conditions put the ski-mountaineering athletes potentially at risk for exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), this study was conducted to estimate the prevalence of EIB in this population. Thirty-one highly-trained ski-mountaineers with racing experience participating in the race were evaluated. EIB was determined after a European race at high altitude and frigid conditions. Pre-race investigations included pulmonary function measurements and a questionnaire enquiring about i) training habits, ii) respiratory history during training and/or competition. Pulmonary function was also tested after the race. None of the athletes reported a basal airway obstruction. Two groups were determined after post-race airway response: i) EIB (+) group exhibiting a fall in FEV (1) > or = 10 % (n = 15) and ii) EIB (-) without fall in FEV (1) or fall < 10 % (n = 16). Neither training habits nor baseline lung function were associated with the post-race airway response. Six of the 31 ski-mountaineers had a previous physician-made diagnosis of asthma and/or EIB, nevertheless 23 of our athletes complained about at least one characteristic symptom of asthma during practise. Four of our 15 EIB (+) had a previous physician-made diagnosis of asthma/EIB indicating that 73 % of EIB (+) athletes were undiagnosed for EIB. The proportion of allergic athletes was not significantly different between EIB (+) and EIB (-). This study showed that approximatively half of highly-trained ski-mountaineers with racing experience can develop EIB after a race and that 73 % of them are unaware of the problem.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma, Exercise-Induced / diagnosis*
  • Asthma, Exercise-Induced / epidemiology
  • Asthma, Exercise-Induced / etiology
  • Bronchoconstriction / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / complications
  • Male
  • Mountaineering / physiology*
  • Mountaineering / statistics & numerical data
  • Prevalence
  • Skiing / physiology*
  • Skiing / statistics & numerical data
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires