Objective assessment of the breathe-right device during exercise in adult males

Am J Rhinol. 1997 Sep-Oct;11(5):393-7. doi: 10.2500/105065897781286061.


In order to improve nasal breathing during competition, many athletes recently have been wearing a spring-loaded, external nasal dilator referred to as the Breathe-Right device (BRD). Although there are many subjective claims that this device improves breathing during exercise, there are currently no controlled studies documenting its efficacy. To determine objectively whether the device improves the nasal airway, 20 subjects (10 Caucasian and 10 African-American) were studied during rest and after 15 minutes of exercise using anterior rhinomanometry and acoustic rhinometry to measure changes in airway resistance and minimal cross-sectional area, respectively. We found that the BRD exerts its main effect in the region of the nasal valve improving the airway an overall 21% in our group of subjects. This anatomic improvement in nasal airway resulted in an overall 27% reduction in nasal resistance in the Caucasian group. However, in the African-American group, a wider range of resistance changes was observed with application of the BRD with significant improvement in nasal resistance in some subjects but paradoxical worsening in others. In the African-American group as a whole, no significant change in nasal resistance occurred with application of the BRD. These measured differences are likely due to variations in nasal anatomy that exist not only between races but also between individuals within a given race. In addition, this study confirms the well known decongestant effects of exercise providing anatomic data with acoustic rhinometry not previously documented in the literature. Overall improvement in nasal airway seen with application of the BRD occurred independent of these exercise-related decongestant effects.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Airway Resistance
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Dilatation / instrumentation
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Fluorometry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Cavity / physiology*
  • Nasal Obstruction / therapy*
  • Otolaryngology / instrumentation*
  • Reference Values
  • Respiration*