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Measurement of arterial blood gases at the transition from exercise to rest.


Arterial blood gas samples obtained 5-20 s after stair-climbing exercise were compared with samples taken during the last 30 s of exercise in 137 subjects. Arterial partial pressure of CO2 (PaCO2) did not change significantly, and in 110 subjects the two samples were within the analytical variation (+/- 2 Torr), supporting the cardiodynamic hypothesis of respiratory regulation. Exceptions to this response were 10 subjects who hyperventilated (PaCO2 less than 34) during exercise and 15 with severe obstruction [forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) less than 70% forced vital capacity (FVC), and FVC less than 70% of predicted] in whom PaCO2 increased significantly. Overall, arterial partial pressure of O2 (PaO2) increased an average of 3.49 Torr (P less than 0.001). In the two groups in which PaCO2 increased, postexercise PaO2 did not rise. In addition, duration of exercise affected PaO2 response. PaO2 increased significantly more after brief (less than 2 min) periods than after longer (4-6 min) exercise, and this difference increased only when subjects with normal or borderline ventilatory function were analyzed. In 13 subjects in whom a second sample was taken 30-45 s after exercise, the increase in PaO2 was progressive and again the difference between short and long exercise was evident. Regulation of respiration to maintain PaCO2 and changes in O2-CO2 kinetics, leading to an increase in the gas exchange ratio at the exercise-rest transition, are the most likely explanations of these data which establish that the usual response to stopping exercise in normal subjects and most patients is an unchanged PaCO2 and a variable increase in PaO2.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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