Differences in V˙O2max Measurements Between Breath-by-Breath and Mixing-Chamber Mode in the COSMED K5.

Winkert K; Kirsten J; Kamnig R; Steinacker JM; Treff G

International journal of sports physiology and performance [Int J Sports Physiol Perform] 2021 Mar 26, pp. 1-6. Date of Electronic Publication: 2021 Mar 26.

Purpose: Automated metabolic analyzers are frequently utilized to measure maximal oxygen consumption (V˙O2max). However, in portable devices, the results may be influenced by the analyzer’s technological approach, being either breath-by-breath (BBB) or dynamic micro mixing chamber mode (DMC). The portable metabolic analyzer K5 (COSMED, Rome, Italy) provides both technologies within one device, and the authors aimed to evaluate differences in V˙O2max between modes in endurance athletes.
Methods: Sixteen trained male participants performed an incremental test to voluntary exhaustion on a cycle ergometer, while ventilation and gas exchange were measured by 2 structurally identical COSMED K5 metabolic analyzers synchronously, one operating in BBB and the other in DMC mode. Except for the flow signal, which was measured by 1 sensor and transmitted to both devices, the devices operated independently. V˙O2max was defined as the highest 30-second average.
Results: V˙O2max and V˙CO2@V˙O2max were significantly lower in BBB compared with DMC mode (-4.44% and -2.71%), with effect sizes being large to moderate (ES, Cohen d = 0.82 and 1.87). Small differences were obtained for respiratory frequency (0.94%, ES = 0.36), minute ventilation (0.29%, ES = 0.20), and respiratory exchange ratio (1.74%, ES = 0.57).
Conclusion: V˙O2max was substantially lower in BBB than in DMC mode. Considering previous studies that also indicated lower V˙O2 values in BBB at high intensities and a superior validity of the K5 in DMC mode, the authors conclude that the DMC mode should be selected to measure V˙O2max in athletes.