Respiratory function changes in a wilderness multisport endurance competition: a prospective case study

Rogers IR ,Speedy D, Hillman D, Noffsinger BE, Inglis SI

The Physician and Sports Medicine 2002;13:135-9

 

Objective:

To document the changes in respiratory function seen in competitors during a typical wilderness multisport endurance event.

Methods:

A prospective observational cohort study measuring forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) at baseline, midrace, and end of race in competitors in a 105-km ski/run/cycle/paddle race held midwinter in the mountains of Victoria, Australia.

Results:

Twenty-five adult subjects (22 men) between 20 and 42 years of age were studied. The mean decline in FEV1 was 15.1% (95% CI 10.3-19.8) and for FVC was 13.0% (95% CI 8.1-17.9). Fourteen (56%) of the 25 subjects had a >10% decline in FEV1 and FVC, and 7 (28%) of the 25 subjects had a >20% decline. In 9 control subjects, aged between 21 and 55 years, there was no significant change in FEV1 or FVC from prerace to end of race.

Conclusions:

Significant declines in FEV1 and FVC are common during wilderness multisport endurance events. The focus of future research should be the etiology, which as yet remains speculative.

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