Objective: The aim of this study is to evaluate the usefulness of Free Running Asthma Screening Test (FRAST) as a method that may help the diagnosis of exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB) in children from a rural area and to compare the results with their history of asthma.
Methods: A FRAST challenge took place at 9 schools. It lasted for 6 minutes and pupils performed it properly with the help of an athlete. The best out of three Peak Expiratory Flow Rate (PEFR) efforts was recorded before and after challenge, using a mini-Wright peak-flow-meter. A more than 15% drop in PEFR was considered an indication of EIB. A questionnaire defining asthmatic symptoms had been distributed and already completed by their parents.
Results: The exercise was successfully performed by 268 children. Eleven children presented a fall of PEFR of at least 15%, five or ten minutes after the exercise; among these, only three boys had a history of asthma, while the remaining 8 children were undiagnosed. No difference regarding age, gender or locations’ altitude was found.
Conclusion: FRAST can be of great use in the diagnosis of EIB in areas that lack proper tools and specialized personnel. A poor correlation between self-reported symptoms and the results of exercise challenges was confirmed.