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Eur Respir J. 1995 May;8(5):729-36.

An exercise challenge for epidemiological studies of childhood asthma: validity and repeatability.

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  • 1Dept of Medicine, University of Sydney, Australia.


We assessed the validity, repeatability and practicality of a standardized exercise challenge protocol for measuring airway responsiveness in epidemiological studies of asthma in children aged 8-11 yrs. The construct validity of the exercise challenge was assessed by comparing response to exercise with other measures of asthma, i.e. wheeze frequency, diagnosed asthma, asthma medication use, atopy and urgent doctor visits (n = 802), and by comparison with response to histamine challenge (n = 201). Repeatability was assessed by comparison of responsiveness to two exercise challenges within 3 days (n = 113), and practicality was assessed by measurement of consent, compliance and throughput rates (n = 802). There was a significant relationship between frequency of wheeze attacks and % fall in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) to exercise. The correlation (r) between % fall in FEV1 to exercise challenge and dose-response ratio to histamine challenge was 0.59. The repeatability of the exercise challenge was +/- 12% fall in FEV1. Consent and compliance rates for exercise challenge were 78 and 99%, respectively, and the mean throughput rate was 45 children per school day for a team of seven researchers. In conclusion, this exercise challenge was found to have good validity and to be reliable and practical. Thus, this challenge could be used as a standardized epidemiological tool to investigate the prevalence, aetiology and mechanisms of asthma.

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