Novel technique helps diagnose swimming-induced respiratory condition

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Exercise-induced obstruction of the larynx, or voice box, is often a cause of respiratory symptoms in athletes and is particularly prevalent in swimmers. A new report reveals a method to accurately diagnose this condition, using a flexible laryngoscope.

Confirming a diagnosis of exercise-induced laryngeal obstruction (EILO) requires visualizing movement of the larynx during intense exercise. In this latest report, investigators used waterproof tape to secure a laryngoscope to the nose, along with a modified swim cap and a laryngoscope cable that was suspended above the water and connected to a monitor.

The recorded laryngoscopic video provided stable, high-quality diagnostic images of the larynx during exercise, without disrupting swim strokes or breathing.

"This is a major step forward to help us accurately diagnose breathing problems in swimmers. EILO is a very common cause of breathing problems during swimming and is so often misdiagnosed and mistreated as asthma," said Dr. James Hull, senior author of The Laryngoscope article.

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