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Dyspnea and Wheezing in the Athlete. Joel Shaw MAJ, MD Primary Care Sports Medicine March, 2007. Objectives. Definition Epidemiology Pathophysiology Presentation Diagnosis Treatment Differential Diagnosis. Mandatory Sports Medicine Cartoon. Definition.

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Dyspnea and Wheezing in the Athlete


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    1. Dyspnea and Wheezing in the Athlete Joel Shaw MAJ, MD Primary Care Sports Medicine March, 2007

    2. Objectives • Definition • Epidemiology • Pathophysiology • Presentation • Diagnosis • Treatment • Differential Diagnosis

    3. Mandatory Sports Medicine Cartoon

    4. Definition • Asthma- reversible airway obstruction caused by chronic airway inflammation and hyper-responsiveness. • Exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB)- transient and reversible airway narrowing precipitated by vigorous exercise.

    5. Epidemiology • Chronic asthma • 1997 NIH expert panel on asthma • 17 million adults in US • 5 million children

    6. EIB epidemiology • EIA affects 12-15% of college athletes • 80-90% of asthmatics report exercise as a trigger • EIA occurs in 80% of asthmatics who don’t use inhaled steroids and in 50% who do • 40% of allergic rhinitis/atopic dermratitis patients have EIA • 10% of normal subjects

    7. Achievements by athletes • 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics • 67 of 597 US athletes had EIA (11.2%) • 41 of these athletes won medals • 1994 Nagano Winter Olympics • 17% of US Team had EIA • 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics • 117 out of 699 US athletes had history of asthma and/or took medications (16.7%) • 35 of these athletes won medals

    8. Olympic B-Agonist Use • Sydney 2000: >18% of athletes from Canada, US, GB, Australia, New Zealand • Sydney 2000: sports variation: triathlon 20%, cycling 17%, swimming 14.5%, track and field 4.1% • Nagono 1988: 14-20% in Norway, Sweden, US and Australia; 33% in Netherlands

    9. Winter vs. Summer Olympics 42% elite cross country skiers Pohjantahti Scand J Med Sci Sports 2005. 50% of competitive ski mountaineers Durand Int J Sports Med 2005 EIB in Cross Country Skiers

    10. Pathophysiology of EIBTheory #1 • Thermal Hypothesis (cold air) • Airways are forced to warm large volumes of air during exercise • High ventilation rates and compensatory mouth breathing lead to airway cooling • Rapid airway rewarming post-exercise causes reactive hyperemia of the bronchial micro-vasculature and edema of the airway wall

    11. Pathophysiology of EIB:Theory #2 • Osmotic Hypothesis (water loss) • Airways are forced to humidify large volumes of dry air during exercise • High ventilation rates and compensatory mouth breathing lead to evaporative water loss • Airway dehydration causes increased surface osmolarity mast cell degranulation Chemical mediator release Bronchial smooth muscle contraction Increased bronchial blood flow/airway edema

    12. Other theories for EIB • Dog model- airway remodeling similar to asthma after exposure to cold, dry air. Davis MSSE 2003 • Sputum samples in EIB show increase in eosinophils. Kanazawa Chest 2002 • Concentration of NO in sputum higher in EIB, which correlates with vascular permeability • Combination of vascular permeability, drying, inflammation, and airway remodeling

    13. Clinical Effects of Cold Air • Swedish cross country skiers: 33% incidence vs. 3% age-matched controls • Norwegian cross country skiers: 14% compared to 5% age-matched controls • US winter sports athletes: 23% incidence, 50% incidence for cross-country skiers

    14. Evidence for chronic changes • Training >20 hours/week increased risk of asthma development. • Elite vs. lower level swimmer: 21 vs. 11.2% • Endobronchial biopsies cross country skiers: increased T-lymphocyte, macrophage, eosinophil, basement membrane tenascin expression (marker for airway modeling) vs. control

    15. Poor correlation between self-reported symptoms and both lab and field challenge tests 61% of athletes who were positive on a field test reported symptoms 45% with a negative challenge reported symptoms (Tikkanen et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1999) Study of college athletes referred for PFT’s based on history consistent with EIA Only 46% had a positive laboratory exercise challenge test (Rice et al. Ann Allergy 1985) Diagnosis of EIA/EIB based purely on symptoms may result in either over or underdiagnosis of the condition leading to the inappropriate use of medications Presentation:Patient Symptom Accuracy

    16. Making the Diagnosis:The Medical History • History of asthma or respiratory symptoms • Timing of the onset of symptoms • Duration and severity of symptoms • Triggers • ER visits/Hospitalizations/Intubations • History of allergic rhinitis or atopy • History of medication use or immunotherapy • Smoking history • Family history of asthma or atopy

    17. Making the Diagnosis:The Medical History • Useful screening questions • Have you ever missed school or work due to chest tightness, coughing, wheezing, or prolonged shortness of breath? • Do you ever have chest tightness? • When you exercise, do you often have wheezing?

    18. Clinical Presentation • Classic symptoms • Cough • Chest tightness • Shortness of breath • Burning chest pain • Wheezing is rare • Unrecognized symptoms • Excessive fatigue after exercise • Poor exercise tolerance • Decreased athletic performance

    19. EIB symptoms • Most commonly symptomatic after exercise • 3 to 5 minutes after cessation of exercise • Peak 10 to 20 minutes after exercise • Late inflammatory phase • 2 to 12 hours after exercise • May persist for 1 or 2 days (URI?) • 30% of patients with EIB Lacroix Phys Sportmed 1999

    20. Making the Diagnosis:Peak Expiratory Flow • PEF rate commonly reduced but cannot substitute for full PFT’s • Effort dependent • Less reproducible than FEV1 • Portable devices varying between manufacturers • Ambulatory monitoring can help with the management of asthma • Look for asthma triggers • Empowers asthmatics to control their disease • Early signal for exacerbations • Monitor effectiveness of therapy

    21. Making the Diagnosis:Spirometry • Measurement of the FEV1 is the best PFT for diagnosing asthma and assessing severity • Ensure consistent effort/reproducibility • Spirometry performed looking for baseline obstruction (FEV1/FVC <70%) • If obstruction perform bronchodilator response (BDR) • Look for 12% and 200mL improvement Baseline PFT’s in mild asthmatics and patients with EIB are usually normal

    22. Making the DiagnosisBronchial Provocation Testing • After baseline PFT • Bronchial provocation testing (BPT) is essential to demonstrate objective evidence of airway hyperresponsiveness. • Methacholine Challenge • Exercise Challenge • Eucapnic Voluntary Hyperventilation

    23. Making the DiagnosisMethacholine Challenge Test • More sensitive than exercise challenge • Low specificity at higher doses. • Other conditions can have a positive MC. • Allergic Rhinitis (~30%) • Vocal Cord Dysfunction • Chronic Bronchitis (~20%) • Smoking • 1999 ATS Guidelines: • When pretest likelihood of asthma is 30-70%. • Negative predictive power >90% • Positive predictive power 90-98% (at PC20 1mg/ml) and 70% (at PC20 4mg/ml).

    24. Making the DiagnosisExercise Challenge • 8-10 minutes minimum of hard exercise without warm-up, following by serial spirometry post exercise • Reproduces environment more accurately • More sensitive than indoor treadmill tests • Lack of standardization in methods and interpretation of results • Positive test: >10% drop in FEV1 • Requires access to spirometry to be accurate • PEF less reliable • Requires available trained personnel to administer

    25. Making the DiagnosisEucapnic Voluntary Hyperventilation • Voluntary hyperventilation of dry air containing 5% carbon dioxide • Steady state protocol: 85% max ventilation for 6 minutes • Similar airway response to exercise at the same ventilation • High specificity for asthma • 100% with 20% drop of FEV1 • Major problem is access to centers performing the test

    26. EVH compared to Exercise • Similar level of ventilation and inhaled water content of the inspired air • Airway response on most occasions is delayed to after the test • Majority of subjects have maximum airway response within 10 minutes of cessation • Increasing duration of challenge increases the response • Respond to same drugs • Production of refractory period

    27. Environmental Control:Allergen and Irritant Avoidance • Dander and Dust mite control • Mattress covers • Frequent cleaning • Avoid carpets • Choose pets wisely • Avoid outside activities during peak exposures • High pollen counts • Smog/Ozone alerts

    28. Environmental Control:Sport Selection for Asthmatics • Choose warm, humid environment over cold and dry • Choose short burst activities over prolonged steady exercise • Avoid asthma triggers especially for outside activities

    29. Environmental Control:Sport Selection for Asthmatics • Avoid highly asthmogenic activities • High minute ventilation • Distance running • Cycling • Soccer • Basketball • Rugby • Cool & dry climate • Ice hockey/ skating, Cross-country skiing

    30. Environmental Control:Sport Selection for Asthmatics • Good Choices: • Swimming/Diving • Gymnastics • Sprints/Field Events • Volleyball • Baseball • Tennis • Golf • Goal Keeper

    31. Use of a mask Capture heat and water on expiration Found successful in reducing severity of EIA Would you wear one?? Nose breathing Promotes inhalation of humidified air Achieves similar effect as mask Natural switch to mouth breathing at 35 L/min Buteyko Breathing Technique Developed in 1960’s—to avoid hyperventilation and restore CO2 levels to normal Involves controlled shallow breathing with intermittent breath holding Popular in Australia and New Zealand Warm-up/Refractory Period 30 second sprints vs. continuous low-intensity warm-up Shown to induce 1-2 hour refractory period May be due to improved bronchial blood flow and H2O delivery to surface Only effective in approximately 50% of asthmatics Inhibited by NSAIDs Behavioral Control:Sport Performance for Asthmatics

    32. Asthma exacerbation treatment • Baseline Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) • Albuterol- 2 puffs now • Oxygen if available and needed • Ambulance vs. watch.

    33. Return to play • Peak expiratory flow • Green- >80% • May compete with observation • Yellow- 50-80% • Treat and watch • Red- <50% • Transfer

    34. Medical Treatment For AsthmaBeta2-Agonists • The most effective drugs for acute symptom relief • Mechanism • Relax bronchial smooth musclebronchodilation • Prevent mediator release from mast cells • Modify contractile effect of mediators on smooth muscle • Short-acting agents used as first line agents for pre-treatment prior to exercise in recreational athletes and those performing intermittent exercise

    35. Medical Treatment For AsthmaBeta2-Agonists • Short-acting agents—2 puffs 15-30 minutes prior to activity – lasts 2-4 hours • Albuterol (Proventil) • Terbutaline (Brethaire) • Pirbuterol (Maxair) • Bitolterol (Tornalate) • Long-acting agents—2 puffs 30-60 minutes prior to activity – lasts 8-12 hours • Salmeterol (Serevent) • Formoterol—immediate and long acting

    36. Medical Treatment For AsthmaBeta2-Agonists: Problems • Tolerance develops with prolonged, regular use of Beta-Agonists • Poor asthma control • Increased bronchial hyperresponsiveness • May result in reduction in baseline lung function if underlying inflammation not controlled in chronic asthmatic • Not recommended for prevention of EIA in regular exercisers with frequent symptoms or elite athletes

    37. Medical Treatment For AsthmaMast Cell Stabilizers • Stabilize mast cell basement membrane preventing degranulation • Effective in early and late phase reaction • No bronchodilator effect • Sodium cromoglycate (Intal) • 2 puffs 30 minutes prior to exercise • Lasts 2 hours • Nedocromil sodium (Tilade) • 2 puffs 30 minutes prior to exercise • Lasts up to 4 hours

    38. Medical Treatment For AsthmaAcetylcholine Receptor Antagonist • Ipratropium (Atrovent) • Short-acting bronchodilator with duration of 3-5 hours • 2 puffs 15 minutes prior to exercise • Individual response varies • Useful as alternate to or in combination with albuterol or mast cell stabilizer • Consider for: • Beta-agonist intolerance • Incomplete relief with beta-agonist or mast cell stabilizer

    39. Leukotrienes are potent inflammatory mediators Bronchoconstrictors Increase mucus production Increase vascular permeability leading to airway edema LTI’s block action of leukotrienes at the CysLT1 receptor Montelukast (Singulair) 10mg once daily Zafirlukast (Accolate) 20mg twice daily Daily treatment is effective in preventing EIA/EIB Studies show an immediate decreased inflammatory and bronchoconstrictor response when given prior to exercise Rundell Br J Sports Med 2005 Long term they are more effective than salmeterol No tolerance is observed Medical Treatment For AsthmaLeukotriene Receptor Inhibitors

    40. Medical Treatment For AsthmaOther Agents • Non-sedating anti-histamines • Consider in patients with allergic rhinitis or allergic triggers • Immunotherapy • For atopic patients not otherwise controlled or intolerant of meds • Base on skin test results • Caffeine • Bronchodilator and reduces respiratory muscle fatigue

    41. First line therapy for chronic asthma Also consider in elite athletes who train nearly daily and require consistent prophylaxis Alleviate post-exercise cough Frequent late phase symptoms Inhaled Corticosteroids Triamcinolone (Azmacort) Flunisolide (AeroBid) Fluticasone (Flovent) Advair Medical Treatment For AsthmaInhaled Steroids

    42. New research • 2 grams Vitamin C 1 hour before exercise- 9/20 patients responded Cohen in Arch Ped Adol Med • Once daily treatment with Singulair at bedtime blocked 47% fall in FEV1NEJM July 98 • Omega 3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids (fish oil supplementation) blocked 80% of fall in FEV1Mickleborough Am J Resp Crit Care Med 2003 • Inhaled heparin blocked 78% of drop when used 1 hour before exercise

    43. Mild Intermittent Beta2 agonist or mast cell stabilizer as needed Mild Persistent Inhaled low-potency corticosteroid Short-acting Beta-agonist as needed +/- long acting Beta agonist or leukotriene inhibitor Moderate Persistent Inhaled medium-potency corticosteroid Long-acting beta agonist Leukotriene inhibitor Short-acting Beta-agonist as needed Severe Persistent As above but increase to high-potency steroid Medical Treatment For AsthmaStepwise Approach Consider immunotherapy if atopic

    44. EIB Treatment Algorithm Continue treatment Reassess regularly Pre-Exercise Treatment Assess Response Adequate Control Inadequate Control Adequate Control Add daily medications step-wise Inadequate Control Maximize medications Evaluate for other conditions Bronchoprovocation testing

    45. Concerns Unique to the Athlete • Most studies indicate increase in muscle strength and endurance in non-asthmatics who use Beta-Agonists • Salbutamol increased strength in 16 of 16 and endurance in 10 of 16 non-asthmatic men tested Van Baak MSSE 2000 • Athletes believe it is ergogenic • IOC ban suggests experts believe the same

    46. USOC Permitted Theophylline Cromolyn Ipratropium USOC Prohibited Bitolterol Metaproterenol Orciprenaline Oral, rectal, IM or IV corticosteroids Oral or injected Beta-agonists USOC notification required and by inhalation only Albuterol/Ipratropium Albuterol Salmeterol Formoterol Terbutaline Beclomethasone Budesonide Dexamethasone Flunisolide Fluticasone Triamcinolone Concerns Unique to the AthleteControlled Medications and Anti-Doping

    47. Concerns Unique to the AthleteControlled Medications and Anti-Doping • September 2001 IOC Anti-Doping Code Update • Written notification by a respiratory or team physician to the relevant medical authority 1 week prior to competition including: • Detailed report of symptoms • Hospital/Clinic medical records • Evidence of positive bronchodilator test, positive exercise challenge test or a positive methacholine challenge test • At the Olympics, athletes who request use of inhaled Beta-Agonists will be accessed by an independent medical panel • Questionable cases will be retested prior to Games

    48. EIB Testing in the 2002 Winter Olympics • 135 of 147 EIB challenge tests were approved • FEV1 response to bronchodilators averaged 16.2% • ECT led to 15.9% average drop in FEV1

    49. Controlled Medications and Anti-Doping • Medication information and documentation requirements • World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) • www.wada-ama.org • United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA) • www.usantidoping.org

    50. Differential Diagnosis • All that wheezes is not asthma. • Asthma doesn’t always wheeze.