Clinical and immunological factors associated with post-race upper respiratory tract symptoms (URTS) in Ironman triathletes

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Ultra-endurance events, in particular Ironman Triathlons, are physically very demanding for the competitors. There is a large body of evidence showing the Upper Respitory Tract Symptoms (URTS) are very common in athletes in the 2-week period after such an event. However, there is no definitive explanation as t the exact cause of mechanism for the development of post-race URTS. The aims of this study were: (1) to determine the incidence of post-race URTS in triathletes competing in an Ironman Triathlon; (2) to identify clinical and immunological factors that are associated with the development of post-race URTS in these triathletes. In this prospective cohort study, 99 triathletes entering the 2006 South African Ironman Triathlon were recruited as subjects. All the subjects completed a validated questionnaire in the one to three days before the race (during registration). The questionnaire contrained sections on demographics, training history and previous performances, common general medical conditions that they may have experienced, and a detailed section pertaining to respiratory tracgt symptoms (RTS) and allergies. At registration, each subject had a blood sample taken for analysis of cytokines representing mainly a TH1 response (IL-2, and IL-12) (cell mediated immunity) and a TH2 response (IL-4, IL-6, IL-10) (humoral immunity), as well as a saliva sample (for salivary α-amylase, cortisol and IgA concentrations). Collection of blood and saliva samples was repeated immediately post-race. Data regarding race performance was collected within one week after completion of the race.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 87-103).