Work-rate affects cardiopulmonary exercise test results in heart failure

Piergiuseppe Agostoni, Michele Bianchia, Andrea Moraschia, Pietro Palermoa, Gaia Cattadoria, Rocco La Gioiab, Maurizio Bussottia, Karlman Wasserman
Europ J of Heart Failure 2005; 7: 498-504
AIMS: Cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) is used to evaluate patients with chronic heart failure (HF) usually by means of a personalized ramp exercise protocol. Our aim was to evaluate if exercise duration or ramp rate influences the results. METHODS AND RESULTS: Ninety HF patients were studied (peak V (O(2)): >20 ml/min/kg, n=28, 15-20 ml/min/kg, n=39 and <15 ml/min/kg, n=23). Each patient did four CPET studies. The initial study was used to separate the subjects into three groups, according to their exercise capacity. In the remaining studies, work-rate was increased at three different rates designed to have the subjects reach peak exercise in 5, 10 and 15 min from the start of the ramp increase in work-rate, respectively. The order was randomized. The work-rate applied for the total population averaged 22.7+/-8.0, 11.6+/-3.7, 7.5+/-2.9 W/min with effective loaded exercise duration of 5 min and 16 s+/-29 s, 9 min and 43 s+/-49 s and 14 min and 32 s+/-1 min and 12 s for the 5-, 10- and 15-min tests, respectively. Peak V (O(2)) averaged 16.9+/-4.3*, 18.0+/-4.4 and 18.0+/-5.4 ml/min/kg for the 5-, 10- and 15-min tests, (*=p<0.001 vs. 10 min). The shortest test had the lowest peak heart rate and ventilation and highest peak work-rate. Peak V (O(2)) and heart rate were lowest in 5-min tests regardless of HF severity. The DeltaV (O(2))/Deltawork-rate was lowest in 5-min tests and highest in 15-min tests. At all ramp rates, DeltaV (O(2))/Deltawork-rate was lower for the subjects with the lower peak V (O(2)). The V (e)/V (CO(2)) slope and V (O(2)) at anaerobic threshold were not affected by the protocol for any grade of HF. CONCLUSIONS: In chronic HF, exercise protocol has a small effect on peak V (O(2)) and DeltaV (O(2))/Deltawork but does not affect V (O(2)) at anaerobic threshold and V (e)/V (CO(2)) slope.

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