Maximal exercise does not increase ventilation heterogeneity in healthy trained adults

Jeremy P. Wrobel, Matthew J. Ellis, Kirk Kee, Christopher R. Stuart-Andrews, Bruce R. Thompson

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The effect of exercise on ventilation heterogeneity has not been investigated. We hypothesized that a maximal exercise bout would increase ventilation heterogeneity. We also hypothesized that increased ventilation heterogeneity would be associated with exercise-induced arterial hypoxemia (EIAH). Healthy trained adult males were prospectively assessed for ventilation heterogeneity using lung clearance index (LCI), Scond, and Sacin at baseline, postexercise and at recovery, using the multiple breath nitrogen washout technique. The maximal exercise bout consisted of a maximal, incremental cardiopulmonary exercise test at 25 watt increments. Eighteen subjects were recruited with mean ± SD age of 35 ± 9 years. There were no significant changes in LCI, Scond, or Sacin following exercise or at recovery. While there was an overall reduction in SpO2 with exercise (99.3 ± 1 to 93.7 ± 3%, P < 0.0001), the reduction in SpO2 was not associated with changes in LCI, Scond or Sacin. Ventilation heterogeneity is not increased following a maximal exercise bout in healthy trained adults. Furthermore, EIAH is not associated with changes in ventilation heterogeneity in healthy trained adults.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12747
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Cardiopulmonary exercise test
  • Hypoxemia
  • Lung clearance index
  • Multiple breath nitrogen washout
  • Ventilation inhomogeneity

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