Published: March 16, 2023
Introduction: Patients with a low cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) undergoing colorectal cancer surgery have a high risk for postoperative complications. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) to assess CRF is the gold standard for preoperative risk assessment. To aid interpretation of raw breath-by-breath data, different methods of data-averaging can be applied. This study aimed to investigate the influence of different data-averaging intervals on CPET variables used for preoperative risk assessment, as well as to evaluate whether different data-averaging intervals influence preoperative risk assessment
Methods: A total of 21 preoperative CPETs were interpreted by two exercise physiologists using stationary time-based data-averaging intervals of 10, 20, and 30 seconds and rolling average intervals of 3 and 7 breaths. Mean values of CPET variables between different data averaging intervals were compared using repeated measures ANOVA. The variables of interest were oxygen uptake at peak exercise (VO2peak), oxygen uptake at the ventilatory anaerobic threshold (VO2VAT), oxygen uptake efficiency slope (OUES), the ventilatory equivalent for carbon dioxide at the ventilatory anaerobic threshold (VE/VCO2VAT), and the slope of the relationship between the minute ventilation and carbon dioxide production (VE/VCO2-slope)
Results: Between data-averaging intervals, no statistically significant differences were found in the mean values of CPET variables except for the ventilatory equivalent for carbon dioxide at the ventilatory anaerobic threshold (P = 0.001). No statistically significant differences were found in the proportion of patients classified as high or low risk regardless of the used data-averaging interval.
Conclusion: There appears to be no significant or clinically relevant influence of the evaluated data-averaging intervals on the mean values of CPET outcomes used for preoperative risk assessment. Clinicians may choose a data-averaging interval that is appropriate for optimal interpretation and data visualization of the preoperative CPET. Nevertheless, caution should be taken as the chosen data-averaging interval might lead to substantial within-patient variation for individual patients.