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Airway dysfunction in swimmers
  1. Valérie Bougault1,2,
  2. Louis-Philippe Boulet2
  1. 1Faculté des Sciences du Sport, Droit et Santé de Lille 2, Lille, France
  2. 2Centre de recherche, Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec, Québec, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Valerie Bougault, Faculté des Sciences du Sport, Université Droit et Santé de Lille 2, Lille 59790, France; valerie.bougault{at}


Elite competitive swimmers are particularly affected by airway disorders that are probably related to regular and intense training sessions in a chlorinated environment. Upper and lower airway respiratory symptoms, rhinitis, airway hyper-responsiveness, and exercise-induced bronchoconstriction are highly prevalent in these athletes, but their influence on athletic performance is still unclear. The authors reviewed the main upper and lower respiratory ailments observed in competitive swimmers who train in indoor swimming pools, their pathophysiology, clinical significance and possible effects on performance. Issues regarding the screening of these disorders, their management and preventive measures are addressed.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.