Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction in elite athletes: a narrative review

Phys Sportsmed. 2022 Nov 14. doi: 10.1080/00913847.2022.2148137. Online ahead of print.


Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) is the most common chronic disease among elite athletes and when left untreated, can impact both respiratory health and sports performance. In recent years, there has been an increase in the awareness and detection of EIB in elite athletes. This narrative review aims to evaluate the risk, prevention, diagnosis, medication, and anti-doping policies of EIB in elite athletes, and to provide more references for athletes with EIB. The results showed that athletes of endurance, winter, and water sports generally have a higher prevalence of EIB than athletes of other sports. Adaptive warm-up before formal exercise and using heat exchange masks at low temperatures are effective ways for athletes to prevent EIB. For physicians, the exercise challenge test and eucapnic voluntary hyperpnea are the recommended diagnostic methods for EIB in athletes. The treatment of athletes with EIB is medication-based, such as inhaled corticosteroids and beta-2 agonists, but current anti-doping policies should be considered when used.

Keywords: Anti-doping policy; EIB; Elite Athletes; Risk; diagnosis; medication; prevention.

Publication types

  • Review