The Olin EILOBI Breathing Techniques: Description and Initial Case Series of Novel Respiratory Retraining Strategies for Athletes with Exercise-Induced Laryngeal Obstruction

J Voice. 2018 Nov;32(6):698-704. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2017.08.020. Epub 2017 Oct 16.


Introduction: Exercise-induced laryngeal obstruction (EILO), the condition previously known as paradoxical vocal fold motion and vocal cord dysfunction, is characterized by inappropriate glottic or supraglottic obstruction during high-intensity exercise, causing exertional dyspnea, frequently with stridor. EILO is definitively diagnosed through upper-airway visualization during a characteristic episode. Although respiratory retraining is a primary therapy for EILO, many patients report symptom persistence despite adequate performance of traditional techniques. This report describes three novel breathing techniques for EILO, the Olin EILOBI (EILO biphasic inspiratory) breathing techniques. We include a teaching process and case series with patient-reported assessments.

Materials and methods: Following descriptions of the techniques and teaching process, we present data from a questionnaire offered to all patients who learned at least one of the techniques between September 2015 and March 2017. Subjects evaluated (1) expectation setting, (2) teaching processes, (3) their ability to implement the techniques during high-intensity exercise, and (4) perceived clinical effectiveness.

Results: Ninety-five percent of eligible patients participated, a primarily young, female, and Caucasian sample. Over 50% of subjects competed at the high school varsity level. Sixty-two percent of subjects perceived reasonable expectations, and 82% positively evaluated the teaching process. Seventy-nine percent were able to employ their technique in the high-intensity activity of choice, and 66% perceived clinical effectiveness with the techniques.

Conclusions: The Olin EILOBI breathing techniques are novel respiratory retraining techniques for use in high-intensity exercise. Case series subjects reported reasonable expectations, a helpful teaching process, the ability to use these techniques during high-intensity exercise, and perceived clinical effectiveness.

Keywords: Continuous laryngoscopy during exercise; Exercise-induced laryngeal obstruction; Olin EILOBI breathing techniques; Therapeutic laryngoscopy during exercise; Vocal cord dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Airway Obstruction / diagnosis
  • Airway Obstruction / etiology
  • Airway Obstruction / physiopathology
  • Airway Obstruction / therapy*
  • Athletes*
  • Breathing Exercises / methods*
  • Dyspnea / diagnosis
  • Dyspnea / etiology
  • Dyspnea / physiopathology
  • Dyspnea / therapy*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laryngostenosis / diagnosis
  • Laryngostenosis / etiology
  • Laryngostenosis / physiopathology
  • Laryngostenosis / therapy*
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Recovery of Function
  • Respiratory Mechanics*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vocal Cord Dysfunction / diagnosis
  • Vocal Cord Dysfunction / etiology
  • Vocal Cord Dysfunction / physiopathology
  • Vocal Cord Dysfunction / therapy*
  • Vocal Cords / physiopathology*
  • Young Adult