Accuracy of respiratory gas variables, substrate, and energy use from 15 CPET systems during simulated and human exercise

Bas Van Hooren; Tjeu Souren; Bart C. Bongers;  (Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands)

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2023;00:1–21.

Purpose: Various systems are available for cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET), but their accuracy remains largely unexplored. We evaluate the accuracy of 15 popular CPET systems to assess respiratory variables, substrate use, and energy expenditure during simulated exercise. Cross-comparisons were also per- formed during human cycling experiments (i.e., verification of simulation find- ings), and between-session reliability was assessed for a subset of systems.
Methods: A metabolic simulator was used to simulate breath-by-breath gas exchange, and the values measured by each system (minute ventilation [V̇E], breathing frequency [BF], oxygen uptake [V̇O2], carbon dioxide production [V̇CO2], respiratory exchange ratio [RER], energy from carbs and fats, and total energy expenditure) were compared to the simulated values to assess the accu- racy. The following manufacturers (system) were assessed: COSMED (Quark CPET, K5), Cortex (MetaLyzer 3B, MetaMax 3B), Vyaire (Vyntus CPX, Oxycon Pro), Maastricht Instruments (Omnical), MGC Diagnostics (Ergocard Clinical, Ergocard Pro, Ultima), Ganshorn/Schiller (PowerCube Ergo), Geratherm (Ergostik), VO2master (VO2masterPro), PNOĒ (PNOĒ), and Calibre Biometrics (Calibre).
Results: Absolute percentage errors during the simulations ranged from 1.15%– 50.3% for V̇E, 1.05–3.79% for BF, 1.10%–17.5% for V̇O2, 1.07%–18.3% for V̇CO2, 0.62%–14.8% for RER, 5.52%–99.0% for Kcal from carbs, 5.13%–133% for Kcal from fats, and 0.59%–12.1% for total energy expenditure. Between-session vari- ation ranged from 0.86%–22.4% for V̇O2 and 1.14%–20.2% for V̇CO2, respectively.
Conclusion: The error of respiratory gas variables, substrate, and energy use differed substantially between systems, with only a few systems demonstrating a consistent acceptable error. We extensively discuss the implications of our findings for clinicians, researchers and other CPET users.