Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing in a Prospective Multicenter Cohort of Older Adults.

Wolf C;  University of Pittsburgh & other American Universities
Blackwell TL; Johnson E;Glynn NW; Nicklas B; Kritchevsky SB; Carnero EA; Cummings SR;Toledo FGS; Newman AB; Forman DE; Goodpaster BH;

Medicine and science in sports and exercise [Med Sci Sports Exerc] 2024 Apr 11.
Date of Electronic Publication: 2024 Apr 11.

Purpose: Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) measured by peak oxygen consumption (VO 2 peak) declines with aging and correlates with mortality and morbidity. Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing (CPET) is the criterion method to assess CRF, but its feasibility, validity and reliability in older adults is unclear. Our objective was to design and implement a dependable, safe and reliable CPET protocol in older adults.
Methods: VO 2 peak was measured by CPET, performed using treadmill exercise in 875 adults ≥70 years in the Study of Muscle, Mobility and Aging (SOMMA). The protocol included a symptom-limited peak (maximal) exercise and two submaximal walking speeds. An adjudication process was in place to review tests for validity if they met any prespecified criteria [VO 2 peak < 12.0 ml/kg/min; maximum heart rate (HR) <100 bpm; respiratory exchange ratio (RER) <1.05 and a rating of perceived exertion <15]. A subset (N = 30) performed a repeat test to assess reproducibility.
Results: CPET was safe and well tolerated, with 95.8% of participants able to complete the VO 2 peak phase of the protocol. Only 56 (6.4%) participants had a risk alert and only two adverse events occurred: a fall and atrial fibrillation. Mean ± SD VO 2 peak was 20.2 ± 4.8 mL/kg/min, peak HR 142 ± 18 bpm, and peak RER 1.14 ± 0.09. Adjudication was indicated in 47 tests; 20 were evaluated as valid, 27 as invalid (18 data collection errors, 9 did not reach VO 2 peak). Reproducibility of VO 2 peak was high (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.97).
Conclusions: CPET was feasible, effective and safe for older adults, including many with multimorbidity or frailty. These data support a broader implementation of CPET to provide insight into the role of CRF and its underlying determinants of aging and age-related conditions.
Competing Interests: Conflict of Interest and Funding Source: None of the authors have conflicts of interest to report. The Study of Muscle, Mobility and Aging is supported by funding from the National Institute on Aging, grant number AG059416. Study infrastructure support was funded in part by NIA Claude D. Pepper Older American Independence Centers at University of Pittsburgh (P30AG024827) and Wake Forest University (P30AG021332) and the Clinical and Translational Science Institutes, funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Science, at Wake Forest University (UL1 0TR001420).