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Clin J Sport Med. 1997 Oct;7(4):257-61.

Spirometry and airway reactivity in elite track and field athletes.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.



To characterize spirometry and to document the incidence of exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB) during competition in elite track and field athletes.


Spirometry was performed in 120 men and 69 women athletes before competition and peak expiratory flows in 50 men and 23 women athletes before and after competition.


The 1991 (Randalls Island, NY, U.S.A.) and the 1993 (Eugene, OR, U.S.A.) National Track and Field Championships (World Championship team-qualifying meet).


American track and field athletes who met World Championship qualifying standards.


Spirometry (Cybermedic, Inc., Boulder, CO, U.S.A.) and peak expiratory flows (Personal Best, Healthscan Products, Cedar Grove, NJ, U.S.A.)--the best of three reproducible efforts.


Male sprinters had lower vital capacities than other track athletes, whereas both male and female field (throwing) athletes had larger vital capacities than both runners and other field athletes. Decreases of 10% peak expiratory flows were found in 10% of men and 26% of women track athletes within 15 min after competition. The incidence was higher in longer-distance events. Most participants did not have a history of asthma.


A higher-than-expected prevalence of EIB was found in high-level track athletes. The results suggest that spirometry and/or peak flows should be measured in track athletes because small decreases in airflow may impair training or performance, a condition that is easily treated.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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