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Am Ind Hyg Assoc J. 1989 Mar;50(3):139-46.

Alterations in physiological and perceptual variables during exhaustive endurance work while wearing a pressure-demand respirator.

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Department of Physiology, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, Fort Worth 76107.


The purpose of this investigation was to describe the time course of changes in physiological and perceptual variables during exhaustive endurance work with and without an air-supplied, full-facepiece, pressure-demand respirator. Thirty-eight healthy subjects (24 to 51 years of age) volunteered for this study. Treadmill speed was set at 5.5 kph (3.4 mph) and elevation was set at a level calculated to elicit 70% of a previously determined maximal aerobic capacity (VO2max). Subjects continued at this rate to exhaustion. Despite a constant work rate, VO2 and %VO2max increased during exercise and were significantly greater with the respirator (34.4 +/- 1.1 mL/kg.min; 84% VO2max) than without the respirator (31.9 +/- 1.1 mL/kg.min; 76% VO2max) at the "final" measurement point prior to termination of exercise by each subject. The final values for ventilation volume (VE) also were significantly greater with the respirator (89.2 +/- 3.4 L/min) than without (73.4 +/- 3.7 L/min). At the conclusion of the endurance walk, dyspnea index (VE/MMV.25) remained well below maximal values (with = 58.6 +/- 2%; without = 44.6 +/- 2%; p less than 0.001). Also, at the final period, no significant differences occurred in the subjects' perceptual ratings of work of breathing, yet work performance time was significantly reduced (p less than 0.0001) from 69.1 +/- 4.4 min (without) to 55.6 +/- 3.8 min (with). A significantly greater swing in peak pressure (maximum pressure measured within the facepiece of respirator), however, from inspired (PPi) to expired (PPe) occurred with the respirator (13.42 cmH2O) than without the respirator (9.25 cmH2O).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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