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Novel Heat Mask Effective for Exercise-Induced Asthma

Device works as well as albuterol pretreatment to maintain lung function in cold exercise-induced asthma

WEDNESDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- A novel heat exchanger mask is as effective as albuterol pretreatment in blocking the decline of lung function in cold exercise-induced asthma, according to a study published in the May issue of Chest.

Richard J. Martin, M.D., F.C.C.P., and David A. Beuther, M.D., both from the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, conducted two studies of 15 patients with symptoms of exercise-induced asthma.

In the first study, 13 patients performed two treadmill exercise tests while breathing cold air (-25 to -15 degrees Celsius) through a placebo or through an active heat exchanger mask. In the second study, five subjects with exercise-induced asthma performed three cold-air treadmill tests: one with the heat exchanger mask, one without the mask but with albuterol pretreatment, and one with neither the mask nor the albuterol (unprotected exercise).

In the first study, the mean decrease in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) was 19 percent with placebo and 4.3 percent with the heat exchanger device. The mean decrease in maximum mid-expiratory flow was 31 percent with placebo and 4.7 percent with the heat exchanger device. In the second study, the mean decrease in FEV1 was 6.3 percent, 11 percent and 28 percent for the heat exchanger mask, albuterol pretreatment and unprotected exercise, respectively.

"This heat exchanger mask blocks cold exercise-induced decline in lung function at least as effectively as albuterol pretreatment," the authors conclude.

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