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Arch Hellen Med, 28(2), March-April 2011, 188-198


The diagnosis of bronchial asthma in elite athletes

N. Markou,1 P. Myrianthefs,2 G. Baltopoulos2
1ICU, "Thriasio" Hospital, Athens,
2Faculty of Nursing, University ICU, "KAT" General Hospital of Athens, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Εxercise is one of the most common triggers of bronchospasm. Exercise-induced bronchospasm is a particularly common problem in elite athletes and may have significant impact on their athletic performance. The diagnosis of asthma or exercise-induced bronchospasm in this group can be challenging, as symptoms of asthma are of low sensitivity and specificity, while their spirometry performance before and after bronchodilation is often within normal limits. In many cases, documentation of exercise-induced bronchospasm is feasible only after bronchoprovocation (exercise, eucapnic voluntary hyperventilation, inhalation of mannitol or of nebulized hypertonic saline). There is no consensus on the need to screen all elite athletes, regardless of symptoms, for the presence of exercise-induced bronchospasm.

Key words: Asthma, Bronchoprovocation, Elite athletes, Spirometry.

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