Study objective: The efficacy of using impulse oscillometry (IOS) as an indirect measure of airflow obstruction compared to spirometry after exercise challenges in the evaluation of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) has not been fully appreciated. The objective was to compare airway responses following room temperature and cold temperature exercise challenges, and to compare whether IOS variables relate to spirometry variables.
Design: Spirometry and IOS were performed at baseline and for 20 min after challenge at 5-min intervals.
Setting: Two 6-min exercise challenges, inhaling either room temperature (22.0°C) or cold temperature (− 1°C) dry medical-grade bottled air. At least 48 h was observed between these randomly assigned challenges.
Participants: Twenty-two physically active individuals (12 women and 10 men) with probable EIB.
Interventions: Subjects performed 6 min of stationary cycle ergometry while breathing either cold or room temperature medical-grade dry bottled air. Subjects were instructed to exercise at the highest intensity sustainable for the duration of the challenge. Heart rate and kilojoules of work performed were documented to verify exercise intensity.
Measurements and results: Strong correlations were observed within testing modalities for post-room temperature and post-cold temperature exercise spirometry and IOS values. Spirometry revealed no differences in postexercise peak falls in lung function between conditions; however, IOS identified significant differences in respiratory resistance (p < 0.05), with room temperature-inspired air being more potent than cold temperature-inspired air.
Conclusions: Correlations were found between spirometric and IOS measures of change in airway function for both exercise challenges, indicating close equivalency of the methods. The challenges appeared to elicit the EIB response by a similar mechanism of water loss, and cold temperature did not have an additive effect. IOS detected a difference in degree of response between the temperatures, whereas spirometry indicated no difference, suggesting that IOS is a more sensitive measure of change in airway function.