Airway obstruction during exercise in asthma

Oscar E. Suman, Mark A. Babcock, David F. Pegelow, Nizar N. Jarjour, William G. Reddan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Airway obstruction (AO) in exercise-induced asthma (EIA) is considered a postexercise phenomenon. However, many with EIA complain of respiratory distress during exercise. We evaluated AO in six asthmatic subjects during a short (SX = 6 min) and a long (LX = 20 min) exercise session. We measured peak expiratory flow (PEF) rate, forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), and forced expiratory flow at 50% of vital capacity (V̇max50) and calculated expiratory and inspiratory pulmonary resistance (RLe and RLi). Rated perceived exertion (RPE) was evaluated as a measure of dyspnea. All three indices of airflow significantly decreased following SX and LX, but RLi and file increased. During SX, PEF, FEV1, and V̇max50 did not decrease, but RLi decreased. During IX, PEF, FEV1, and V̇max50 decreased (20.0, 26.0, and 17.7%, respectively), whereas RLi and RLe significantly increased (74.0 and 53.0%). Rated perceived exertion correlated highly with RLi during exercise (r = 0.95). In summary, there was little or no AO during 5X but a frank AO during LX in asthmatic subjects. We conclude that AO occurs during LX and that the manifestation of dyspnea is associated with AO during exercise, as well as in recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-31
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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