Breathing parameters associated to two different external nasal dilator strips in endurance athletes

Auris Nasus Larynx. 2017 Dec;44(6):713-718. doi: 10.1016/j.anl.2017.01.006. Epub 2017 Jan 30.


Objective: The aim of the study was to investigate and compare the effects of two different external nasal dilator strips (ENDS) on nasal respiratory flow, maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), nasal VO2max, time to exhaustion and subjective nasal obstruction in adult triathletes participating in exhaustive, controlled physical exercise tests.

Methods: Thirteen healthy triathletes without nasal symptoms were recruited and randomly tested in three different conditions: without ENDS, wearing the Breathe Right® dilator strip and wearing the Master-aid Roll-flex® strip. We investigated the variations in the peak nasal inspiratory flow (PNIF) and the Nasal Obstruction Symptom Evaluation questionnaire before and after an exhaustive treadmill test. VO2max, nasal VO2max, time to exhaustion, total time of nasal respiration values were also registered and compared.

Results: Post-exercise PNIF was higher than the pre-exercise PNIF. Pre-exercise PNIF was higher in athletes wearing the Master-aid Roll-Flex® than in those wearing the Breathe Right® strips; no differences in post-exercise PNIF values were found in the three different conditions. Nasal VO2max value was higher when both types of ENDS were worn. Nasal respiration time to exhaustion was longer when the athletes were wearing either type of ENDS. Both ENDS gave a better sensation of nasal airflow passage after physical exercise.

Conclusion: ENDS had similar effects, improving the subjective sensation of nasal patency, the nasal respiration time, and the nasal VO2max, anyway Master-aid Roll-flex® is more economic than the Breathe Right® and it can be cut to fit the nasal anatomy. As ENDS affect the cross-sectional area, especially at the level of the nasal valve, in future studies should be conducted also by means of acoustic rhinometry in order to evaluate if any difference could be find at this level when wearing either one of the two ENDS.

Keywords: Nasal VO(2)max; Nasal dilator strip; PNIF; Physical exercise; Triathletes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletes*
  • Dilatation*
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhalation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Cavity*
  • Nasal Obstruction / physiopathology*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Physical Endurance*
  • Respiration
  • Surgical Tape*
  • Young Adult