Indoor chlorinated swimming pools are associated with airway changes in “healthy” swimmers

Airway disorders are common in regular chlorinated swimming pool attendees, particularly competitive athletes.

Are there airway changes in “healthy simmers?

This study evaluated airway inflammation and remodeling in 26 elite healthy swimmers, without history of asthma, and 20 controls (10 with asthma and 10 health subjects).

Swimmers had increased airway mucosa eosinophil and mast cell counts. They also had more goblet cell hyperplasia and higher mucin expression. However, exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) and airway responsiveness to methacholine did not correlate with the inflammatory and remodeling changes.

The authors concluded that intense, long-term swimming training in indoor chlorinated swimming pools is associated with airway changes similar to those seen in mild asthma, but with higher mucin expression. The long-term clinical consequences need to be clarified in future studies to determine of these changes could lead to asthma.

Editor's note: Although interesting, there is no actionable information in this report. It is also good to remember that exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB) is much more common in athletes than in the general population (click to enlarge the image):


Airway remodeling and inflammation in competitive swimmers training in indoor chlorinated swimming pools. Valérie Bougault et al. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Volume 129, Issue 2 , Pages 351-358.e1, February 2012.
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