Pulmonary function and airway responsiveness in young competitive swimmers

Pediatric Pulmonology, 03/30/2012

Silvestri M et al. – Intense swimming activity may cause a greater than normal lung growth, irrespective of the presence of allergic sensitization or airway hyperresponsiveness.


  • Forced expiratory volume in 1sec (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), airway responsiveness, and skin prick test were measured in 34 children/adolescents (age: 7–19yrs old) trained for competitive swimming.
  • Their “lifetime” exposure, i.e., the hours spent in pool was very strongly correlated with their age at the time of study.
  • The effect of swimming activity was therefore estimated from the relationships between lung function data and age.


  • FVC Z-score was positively correlated with age, indicating that absolute values increased more than expected with normal growth, but FEV1/FVC was negatively correlated with age.
  • Although the majority of subjects had allergic sensitization to aeroallergens and about one half had asthma-like symptoms and/or airway hyperresponsiveness, these conditions did not alter the relationships between lung function and age.

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