Inducible laryngeal obstruction (ILO) describes an inappropriate, transient, reversible narrowing of the larynx in response to external triggers. ILO is an important cause of a variety of respiratory symptoms and can mimic asthma. Current understanding of ILO has been hampered by imprecise nomenclature and variable approaches to assessment and management. A task force of the European Respiratory Society (ERS) and European Laryngological Society (ELS) was thus set up to address this, and to identify research priorities.

A literature search identified relevant articles published until June 2016, using all identifiable terms for ILO, although including only articles using laryngoscopy. In total, 172 out of 252 articles met the inclusion criteria, summarised in sections on diagnostic approach, aetiology, comorbidities, epidemiology and treatment. The consensus taxonomy published by ERS, ELS and the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) in 2015 is used throughout this statement.

We highlight the high prevalence of ILO and the clinical impact for those affected. Despite recent advances, most aspects of this condition unfortunately remain incompletely understood, precluding firm guidance. Specifically, validated diagnostic and treatment algorithms are yet to be established, and no randomised control studies were identified in this search; hence we also make recommendations for future research.