The Elite Breathless Clinic, the first private service of its kind in the North-West, provides tailored multi-disciplinary assessment and treatment for people struggling with breathlessness symptoms during exercise.

Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, or EIB, is the preferred term for what was known for years as exercise-induced asthma and is the most common medical condition in athletes. EIB is the narrowing of the tubes in the lungs during exercise. The true prevalence is unknown, but it has been estimated that up to 70% of elite athletes are affected by the condition. People involved in sports that have challenging environments (e.g. cold climates) or high aerobic demands are at greater risk. However, not all exercise associated breathlessness is due to EIB. Several other conditions can mimic EIB, including upper airway conditions like exercise-induced laryngeal obstruction (E-ILO) and dysfunctional breathing.

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

The impact of breathlessness symptoms during exercise can range from reduction in performance to fatigue and, at extremes, withdrawal from competitive participation. Respiratory symptoms alone do not provide enough information for accurate, targeted treatment as breathlessness symptoms can be multi-factorial and therefore specific specialised tests are crucial to provide accurate diagnosis.

In EIB the airways can become temporarily narrowed during exercise and symptoms include wheezing, cough and chest tightness. The International Olympic Committee recommend indirect airway challenge testing as a gold standard for determining EIB in a competitive athlete. Consensus guidelines advise continuous laryngoscopy, which is an examination of the back of your throat, your voice box (larynx) , and vocal cords with a scope (laryngoscope) during exercise to assess for EILO, all of which are offered at the Elite Breathlessness Clinic.

An early, accurate diagnosis for the cause of breathlessness is key as it can prevent impaired performance. Treatment can include targeted medication or therapy programmes to gain control of breathing.

Running the Elite Breathlessness Clinic out of The Manchester Institute of Health & Performance means that you not only have access to the best clinicians, but also state-of-the-art equipment for both health and performance in the region, all under-one-roof. The clinic provides a unique infrastructure which ensures that each and every patient receives assessment, diagnosis and bespoke goal orientated treatment within one clinical service. The aim is to deliver comprehensive management packages which allow individuals to recover from breathlessness symptoms and fulfil their competitive goals.

The Elite Breathlessness Clinic is run by Dr Aashish Vyas, Consultant Chest Physician, and Jemma Haines, Consultant Speech and Language Therapist, who have more than 20 years combined experience treating individuals with complex breathlessness needs.

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