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J Physiol Biochem. 1999 Dec;55(4):333-9.

Differences between lactate concentration of samples from ear lobe and the finger tip.

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Department of Physiological Sciences II. University of Barcelona, Spain.


Blood lactate concentrations in capillary samples obtained from the ear lobe or from the finger tip are used indistinctly, since they are considered equivalents. The aim of the study reported in this paper was to verify whether that assumption is valid due to the practical implications which any possible differences between these two sampling sites would have in the planning and assessing of an athletic training program. Twenty six healthy male athletes competing in different sports at the national level (9 rowers, 7 cyclists and 10 runners) were studied during the performance of a graded exercise test up to the point of exhaustion, on specific ergometers. In each group, capillary blood samples were obtained simultaneously from both the ear lobe and the finger tip at three different times during the test: 1) in resting conditions; 2) when exercising at a submaximal work load and 3) seven minutes after the point of exhaustion. Significant differences were found between the blood lactate concentrations of samples obtained from the ear lobe and from the finger tip (p < 0.001). The method error of repeated measurements for lactate concentrations from paired samples obtained in resting conditions was 27%, when exercising at a submaximal work load, 16% and at maximal work load, 3%. Capillary blood samples collected from the finger tip consistently showed higher values in lactate concentration than those obtained, at the same time, from the ear lobe.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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