Beyond VO2: the complex cardiopulmonary exercise test

Eur J Prev Cardiol

4 January Jan 2024 one month ago
  • Mattavelli I, Vignati C, Farina S, Apostolo A, De Martino F, Pezzuto B, Agostoni P.

Cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) is a valuable diagnostic tool with a specific application in heart failure (HF) thanks to the strong prognostic value of its parameters. The most important value provided by CPET is the peak oxygen uptake (peak VO2), the maximum rate of oxygen consumption attainable during physical exertion. According to the Fick principle, VO2 equals cardiac output (Qc) times the arteriovenous content difference [C(a-v)O2], where Ca is the arterial oxygen and Cv is the mixed venous oxygen content, respectively; therefore, VO2 can be reduced both by impaired O2 delivery (reduced Qc) or extraction (reduced arteriovenous O2 content). However, standard CPET is not capable of discriminating between these different impairments, leading to the need for 'complex' CPET technologies. Among non-invasive methods for Qc measurement during CPET, inert gas rebreathing and thoracic impedance cardiography are the most used techniques, both validated in healthy subjects and patients with HF, at rest and during exercise. On the other hand, the non-invasive assessment of peripheral muscle perfusion is possible with the application of near-infrared spectroscopy, capable of measuring tissue oxygenation. Measuring Qc allows, by having haemoglobin values available, to discriminate how much any VO2 deficit depends on the muscle, anaemia or heart.

Reference: Beyond VO2: the complex cardiopulmonary exercise test. Mattavelli I, Vignati C, Farina S, Apostolo A, Cattadori G, De Martino F, Pezzuto B, Zaffalon D, Agostoni P. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2023 Oct 11;30(Supplement_2):ii34-ii39.

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