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Original article
Prevalence of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction and exercise-induced laryngeal obstruction in a general adolescent population
  1. Henrik Johansson1*,
  2. Katarina Norlander2*,
  3. Lars Berglund3,
  4. Christer Janson4,
  5. Andrei Malinovschi4,
  6. Lennart Nordvall5,
  7. Leif Nordang2,
  8. Margareta Emtner6
  1. 1Department of Neuroscience/Physiotherapy, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  2. 2Surgical Sciences: Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  3. 3Uppsala Clinical Research Center, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  4. 4Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  5. 5Women's and Children's Health: Pediatrics, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  6. 6Department of Neuroscience/Physiotherapy, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Henrik Johansson, Department of Neuroscience/Physiotherapy, Uppsala University, Box 593 BMC, Uppsala 751 24, Sweden; henrik.johansson{at}


Background Exercise-induced respiratory symptoms are common among adolescents. Exercise is a known stimulus for transient narrowing of the airways, such as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) and exercise-induced laryngeal obstruction (EILO). Our aim was to investigate the prevalence of EIB and EILO in a general population of adolescents.

Methods In this cross-sectional study, a questionnaire on exercise-induced dyspnoea was sent to all adolescents born in 1997 and 1998 in Uppsala, Sweden (n=3838). A random subsample of 146 adolescents (99 with self-reported exercise-induced dyspnoea and 47 without this condition) underwent standardised treadmill exercise tests for EIB and EILO. The exercise test for EIB was performed while breathing dry air; a positive test was defined as a decrease of ≥10% in FEV1 from baseline. EILO was investigated using continuous laryngoscopy during exercise.

Results The estimated prevalence of EIB and EILO in the total population was 19.2% and 5.7%, respectively. No gender differences were found. In adolescents with exercise-induced dyspnoea, 39.8% had EIB, 6% had EILO and 4.8% had both conditions. In this group, significantly more boys than girls had neither EIB nor EILO (64.7% vs 38.8%; p=0.026). There were no significant differences in body mass index, lung function, diagnosed asthma or medication between the participants with exercise-induced dyspnoea who had or did not have a positive EIB or EILO test result.

Conclusions Both EIB and EILO are common causes of exercise-induced dyspnoea in adolescents. EILO is equally common among girls and boys and can coexist with EIB.

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