Ventilatory Threshold and Risk of Pulmonary Exacerbations in Cystic Fibrosis.

Campos NE; Vendrusculo FM; Pérez-Ruiz M; Donadio MVF;

Respiratory care [Respir Care] 2023 Apr 04.
Date of Electronic Publication: 2023 Apr 04.

Background: Whereas pulmonary exacerbations and aerobic fitness play a key role in the prognosis of cystic fibrosis (CF), the use of ventilatory threshold data as markers of exacerbation risk has been scarcely addressed. This study sought to examine the association between aerobic fitness, assessed through ventilatory threshold variables recorded during cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET), and the risk of exacerbations in individuals with CF.
Methods: Participants of this retrospective cohort study were subjects from 6 y of age. Over a 4-y period, the following data were recorded: lung function indicators, CPET variables, time to first exacerbation and antibiotic use, along with demographic, clinical, and anthropometric data.
Results: The mean age of 20 subjects included was 16 ± 5.4 y. Univariate regression analysis revealed that lung function (FEV 1 : Cox hazard ratio [HR] 0.97 , P = .03; and forced expiratory flow between 25-75% of vital capacity [FEF 25-75 ]: Cox HR 0.98 , P = .036) and aerobic fitness (oxygen consumption [V̇ O 2 ] at ventilatory threshold: Cox HR 0.94 , P = .01; and ventilatory equivalent for carbon dioxide [V̇ E /V̇ CO 2 ] at ventilatory threshold: Cox HR 1.13 , P = .049) were associated with exacerbation risk, whereas in the multivariate model, only V̇ O 2 at the ventilatory threshold (%max) (Cox HR 0.92 , P = .01) had a significant impact on this risk. Consistently, individuals experiencing exacerbation had significantly lower V̇ O 2 values (%max) at the ventilatory threshold ( P = .050) and higher ventilatory equivalent for oxygen consumption (V̇ E /V̇ O 2 ) ( P = .040) and V̇ E /V̇ O 2 ( P = .037) values at the ventilatory threshold. Time to exacerbation was significantly correlated with V̇ O 2 at the ventilatory threshold (r = 0.50, P = .02), V̇ E /V̇ O 2 (r = -0.48, P = .02), and V̇ E /V̇ CO 2 (r = -0.50, P = .02).
Conclusions: Our results suggest an association between CPET variables at the ventilatory threshold and exacerbations. Percentage V̇ O 2 at the ventilatory threshold could serve as a complementary variable to monitor exacerbations in people with CF.