Purpose: Dyspnea has been reported to be a main contributor to exercise avoidance in asthma. While traditional markers of ventilation do not explain the heightened dyspnea during exercise in asthmatics, this study proposed that exertional dyspnea in asthma was due to high operating lung volumes, which may be improved with a short-acting beta2-agonist. Methods: On two separate days, sixteen asthmatics and 16 controls completed a lung function test and incremental exercise tests to exhaustion. On one of the days (order randomized), 400 mcg salbutamol was administered prior to exercise. Inspiratory capacity (IC), inspiratory reserve volume (IRV), and dyspnea (modified Borg scale) were evaluated throughout exercise. Results: Compared to controls, asthmatics reported greater dyspnea at the same absolute submaximal workloads. Further, asthmatics demonstrated altered breathing responses to exercise, characterized by reduced IC and IRV throughout exercise compared to controls. The reduced IRV was associated with increased dyspnea in asthmatics. Salbutamol did not affect dyspnea or operating lung volumes in either group. Conclusion: The increased perception of dyspnea during incremental exercise in asthmatics appears to be secondary to a reduction in IRV which is unaffected by an inhaled beta2-agonist.
Journal of Applied Physiology – The American Physiological Society
Published: Mar 7, 2018
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