Sports medicine programs benefit from pulmonologist on staff

October 22, 2007

(Chicago, IL, October 22, 2007) - Despite the high prevalence of asthma among athletes, a new study finds that the majority of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sports medicine programs do not have a pulmonologist on staff. The study presented at CHEST 2007, the 73rd annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), found that less than 25% of NCAA-affiliated athletic trainers report having a pulmonologist on their sports medicine program staff. However, the presence of a pulmonologist on staff increased the likelihood of a program's adherence to national asthma management guidelines, which may, ultimately, improve the clinical care of athletes with asthma.

"Studies estimate that exercise-induced asthma among athletes is double the rate seen in the general population; however, diagnosing asthma and other respiratory disorders in athletes can be challenging," said the study's lead author, Jonathan Parsons, MD, Associate Director, The Ohio State University Asthma Center, Columbus, OH. "There are many mimics that can be confused with asthma. Pulmonologists offer expertise that may provide assistance in managing asthma that often will help improve health and performance of many athletes."

Dr. Parsons and researchers from The Ohio State University surveyed 541 athletic trainers affiliated with the NCAA about their asthma management programs. Researchers found that only 22% of responders reported having a pulmonologist on their sports medicine program staff. Furthermore, sports medicine programs with a pulmonologist on staff were significantly more likely to follow national asthma management guidelines published by the National Education and Prevention Program - part of the National Health, Lung, and Blood Institute - and a position statement concerning asthma management in athletes published by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA). The guidelines and position statement recommend having an emergency action plan for the management of acute asthma attacks, yet, only 20% of respondents in the survey reported their program having a specific, written protocol for managing acute asthma exacerbations during games or practice.

"At this point in time, we can't predict which athlete may have an asthma attack or how severe that episode may be. Hence, having a plan for how to respond to such an event and having necessary equipment and medication immediately available is paramount," said Dr. Parsons. "For sports medicine programs, having both an asthma management plan and a pulmonologist on staff is optimal; however, having an asthma management plan is essential."

The NATA position statement also states that all patients with asthma should have a rescue inhaler available during games and practices, and that athletic trainers should have an extra rescue inhaler for each athlete for administration during emergencies. Current survey results showed that 61% of respondents' programs mandate that a rescue inhaler be available for practices, and 59% indicated that a rescue inhaler is required to be available at all games. However, researchers note that some states prohibit athletic trainers from carrying inhalers unless prescribed for a specific athlete. The position statement further recommends that athletes with a history of asthma or of taking a medication used to treat asthma and those suspected of having asthma should consult a physician for proper medical evaluation, including having a pulmonary function test. However, only 17% of survey respondents reported objective lung function testing being performed in their program when exercise-induced asthma is suspected by history.

"Following asthma management guidelines can help improve clinical care for athletes with asthma and may help decrease asthma-related morbidity in this population," said Alvin V. Thomas, Jr., MD, FCCP, President of the American College of Chest Physicians. "Collegiate sports medicine programs should be encouraged to follow a comprehensive approach, which includes having a plan for managing asthma and other chronic diseases among athletes."
-end-
CHEST 2007 is the 73rd annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians, held October 20-25 in Chicago, IL. ACCP represents 17,000 members who provide patient care in the areas of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine in the United States and throughout the world. The ACCP's mission is to promote the prevention and treatment of diseases of the chest through leadership, education, research, and communication. For more information about the ACCP, please visit the ACCP Web site at www.chestnet.org.

American College of Chest Physicians

Related Asthma Articles from Brightsurf:

Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma
In an Acta Paediatrica study, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months was linked with a lower risk of respiratory allergies and asthma when children reached 6 years of age.

Researchers make asthma breakthrough
Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have made a breakthrough that may eventually lead to improved therapeutic options for people living with asthma.

Physics vs. asthma
A research team from the MIPT Center for Molecular Mechanisms of Aging and Age-Related Diseases has collaborated with colleagues from the U.S., Canada, France, and Germany to determine the spatial structure of the CysLT1 receptor.

New knowledge on the development of asthma
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have studied which genes are expressed in overactive immune cells in mice with asthma-like inflammation of the airways.

Eating fish may help prevent asthma
A scientist from James Cook University in Australia says an innovative study has revealed new evidence that eating fish can help prevent asthma.

Academic performance of urban children with asthma worse than peers without asthma
A new study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows urban children with poorly controlled asthma, particularly those who are ethnic minorities, also suffer academically.

Asthma Controller Step Down Yardstick -- treatment guidance for when asthma improves
The focus for asthma treatment is often stepping up treatment, but clinicians need to know how to step down therapy when symptoms improve.

Asthma management tools improve asthma control and reduce hospital visits
A set of comprehensive asthma management tools helps decrease asthma-related visits to the emergency department, urgent care or hospital and improves patients' asthma control.

Asthma linked to infertility but not among women taking regular asthma preventers
Women with asthma who only use short-acting asthma relievers take longer to become pregnant than other women, according to research published in the European Respiratory Journal.

What are the best ways to diagnose and manage asthma?
A team of experts from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston examined the current information available from many different sources on diagnosing and managing mild to moderate asthma in adults and summarized them.

Read More: Asthma News and Asthma Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.