Exercise Induced Asthma Test

What is an exercise induced asthma test?

An exercise induced asthma test involves some simple breathing tests and exercising on a treadmill to assess whether this causes your airways to become narrower.

Why do I need to have this test?

Your doctor (or other health professional) has asked for these tests to help them understand whether the airways in your lungs are more sensitive than they should be. This will help them give you advice regarding your treatment and management.

Who will perform my test?

The test will be performed by two respiratory physiologists. Respiratory physiologists are staff who have extensive training and knowledge in respiratory physiology and performing lung function tests.

What will happen during the test?

Before the test begins the physiologist will explain the test to you in detail and answer any questions that you have.

To begin with you will be asked to perform some breathing tests through a mouthpiece. You will then be asked to exercise on the treadmill for about six minutes. At particular time periods after you have finished exercising you will be asked to repeat the breathing test.

The whole test will last for approximately one hour. If required you can take Salbutamol (Ventolin) and Bricanyl up to 8 hours prior to the test.

Important information

Please do not use your inhalers for one week prior to the appointment.

Salbutamol (Ventolin) and Bricanyl can be used up to 8 hours prior to the appointment.

Please withold from taking the following medications prior to the test:

  • Sodium cromoglycate (eight hours)
  • Nedocromil (48 hours)
  • Theophyllines (12 to 48 hours)
  • Leukotrienes (24 hours)
  • Antihistamines (48 hours)

Take all other medication as normal and please bring a list of all medication with you.

Please do not smoke, consume alcohol, eat a heavy meal or perform heavy exercise within four hours of the test.

Please do not consume coffee, tea, cola drinks or chocolate on the day of the test.

Please wear comfortable clothes and shoes suitable for exercise.

Please do not wear nail varnish or false nails.

Thank you for your co-operation. This will assist us in obtaining accurate information and enable us to provide you with the most appropriate treatment.

Frequently asked questions

Will there be any discomfort or side effects of this test?

Sometimes the test can cause a mild spasm of the airways, which may make you cough or feel tight-chested. This is easily reversed by a common medication (Salbutamol) that is given routinely at the end of the test.

Is there a different test I could have?

There is no other basic test that would give us this information about the sensitivity of your airways.

When will I be told the results of my test?

The results will be sent to the professional that requested the test. They will then discuss the results with you at your next appointment.

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If you or the individual you are caring for need support reading this leaflet please ask a member of staff for advice.

How to contact us:

Respiratory Physiology
Gate 12
Level 1
Brunel building
Southmead Hospital
BS10 5NB

0117 414 9939


© North Bristol NHS Trust. This edition published June 2019. Review due June 2021. NBT002877

Exercise Induced Asthma Test