Background: We studied the prevalence rate of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) in Annaba schoolchildren. No previous assessment of this syndrome had ever been done in Algeria.
Methods: EIB was evaluated using the 6 min free running test (6MFRT) on 286 children, 87.4% of whom were 10-12 years old. They performed the test in the morning, during the autumn-winter season. Peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) was measured before, and then 5 and 10 min after the 6MFRT, a 15% or more decrease in post-exercise PEFR being defined as significant.
Results: EIB was much more frequent in asthmatic than in nonasthmatic children (47.0% vs. 13.9%, p < .001) and the drop in PEFR was more marked among the former. EIB was observed more often in a cool temperature (<8°C). There were relatively more children who were either eutrophic or overweight among those presenting an EIB. Past histories of nocturnal wheezing and rhinoconjunctivitis presented respectively the best specificity (96.7%) and sensitivity (84.8%). Children of unemployed workers presented the highest occurrence of EIB. Passive smoking appeared as the only factor being related to EIB among the indoor pollutants. The prevalence rate of asthma (6.7%) was higher than in a previous cross-sectional epidemiological survey study performed in the Maghreb. The prevalence rate of EIB (13.9%) was situated in the upper range of the results given worldwide.
Conclusions: These features of a fairly high bronchial hyperresponsiveness could be facilitated by the polluted environment of the city.