Pulmonary responses to cold water endurance swimming: a quasi-experimental cross-sectional study on healthy, active adults
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Objectives: Long-distance, extreme triathlons and open water swimming (OWS) events have become popular leisure time activities over the last decades, attracting a broad range of participants. However, reports on high mortality rates and the incidence of lifethreatening conditions like hypothermia, swimming-induced pulmonary edema (SIPE) and exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) have been reported in the OWS and triathlon communities. Facial-skin cooling and inhalation of cold air can induce acute bronchoconstriction, consequently making cold water swimmers susceptible of developing severely reduced lung function during their athletic performance. Our primary aim was thus to assess the pulmonary responses to an OWS in cold water. Secondly, we wanted correlate the potential pulmonary changes with body composition characteristics and weekly training volumes to examine if such relationships existed. Methods: Nineteen (♀7/♂12) healthy individuals completed a 45-90 minutes OWS in cold water (10±0.9ºC), wearing a swim-specific wetsuit. Body composition was measured by dual-energy x-ray absorpiometry (DXA) at baseline. Lung function, determined by maximal expiratory flow-volume curves, whole-body plethysmography and alveolar gas diffusion measured by transfer factor for carbon monoxide (TL,CO) were assessed before and 2.5-3 hours after the OWS. Concurrently, exhaled fractional nitric oxide (FENO) and oxygen saturation by pulse oximetry (SpO2) were also assessed. In 12 participants, lung function was measured before and 3, 10, 20 and 45 minutes after the OWS. Results are given as median (25th to 75th percentile) and effect sizes as r. Level of statistical significance was set to p ≤ 0.05.
Masteroppgave - Norges idrettshøgskole, 2017