Objectives: Studies documenting the increased incidence
of exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB) in figure skaters have employed
a method that incorporates on-ice exercise with rink-side spirometry.
The literature suggests that bronchial provocation challenge testing is
better than exercise testing for identifying EIB. To test this
hypothesis in figure skaters, a unique athletic population that trains
and competes in cold air, we compared these two methods in the same
Patients/methods: Two challenge tests
were performed on a group of competitive figure skaters (n = 29,
26 female subjects; mean ± SD age = 12.3 ± 3.5 years): (1)
rink-side (temperature = 14°C, humidity = 60%) spirometry
before and 1, 5, 10, and 15 min after 5 min of intense skating; and (2)
eucapnic voluntary hyperventilation (EVH), breathing 5%
CO2, 21% O2, balance N2 at a rate
of 60% of maximum voluntary ventilation (not to exceed 70 L/min) for 5
min (temperature = 18°C, humidity = 50%), with an
identical pretest and posttest spirometry schedule. EIB was defined as
at least one of the following: a ≥1 0% decline in Fev1; a≥
20% decline in maximum midexpiratory flow rate; or a ≥ 25%
decline in peak expiratory flow rate.
of 29 skaters (55%) developed EIB: 9 were positive by on-ice testing;
12 were positive by EVH testing; 5 were positive on both tests; on-ice
testing missed 7 skaters with EIB; EVH testing missed 4 with EIB.
Conclusion: In the group of figure skaters studied, EVH
challenge testing was better at identifying EIB than on-ice exercise
testing. However, these data suggest that evaluation for EIB in
athletes who train and compete in the cold should include exercise
testing in cold air along with a challenge test such as EVH to increase
the yield of positive responders.
Abbreviations: EIB = exercise-induced
bronchospasm; EVH = eucapnic voluntary hyperventilation; MMEF =
maximum midexpiratory flow rate; PEFR = peak expiratory flow
rate; PFT = pulmonary function test