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Chest. 1993 Mar;103(3):735-41.

O2 uptake kinetics in response to exercise. A measure of tissue anaerobiosis in heart failure.

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Department of Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance 90509.


Oxygen uptake (VO2) reflects the rate of aerobic regeneration of high-energy phosphate compounds (primarily adenosine triphosphate [ATP]). Since lactate increase is thought to result from an inadequate rate of aerobic ATP regeneration, it might be expected that lactate increase would be associated with a delayed attainment of steady state for VO2 in response to constant load exercise. Similarly if mitochondrial ATP regeneration during exercise is inadequately supported by O2 transport mechanisms, adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and purine nucleotide by-products, such as hypoxanthine, should increase. This study investigated the relationship between VO2 kinetics during exercise and accompanying changes in blood lactate and hypoxanthine values in heart failure patients, as a model of compromised O2 transport. Twenty-five patients with chronic heart failure performed cycle ergometry for 6 min at 25 W and at a work rate midway (50 percent delta) between their lactic acidosis threshold (LAT) and peak VO2. Ventilation and gas exchange were measured breath by breath, and venous lactate, hypoxanthine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine were determined at rest and 2 min after each test. The slow component of VO2 kinetics was quantified as the rise in VO2 from the third to the sixth minute of exercise (delta VO2 [6-3]). Ten age- and size-matched normal subjects served as control subjects. delta VO2 (6-3) was correlated with the increase in lactate (r = 0.71, p < 0.001), hypoxanthine (r = 0.61, p < 0.001), and norepinephrine (r = 0.41, p < 0.01) but not epinephrine in response to exercise in the heart failure patients. The delta VO2 (6-3) and delta lactate were both greater in the patients than in the control subjects at similar absolute work rates (54 +/- 20 and 60 W, respectively). However, the slope of the relationship between delta La and delta VO2 (6-3) for the patient and normal groups was indistinguishable. The lactate increase was correlated with hypoxanthine increase (r = 0.66, p < 0.001), but not norepinephrine or epinephrine. In summary, VO2 kinetics in response to exercise reflects delayed attainment of the steady state in heart failure patients, which is correlated with increases in lactate and hypoxanthine, markers of increased anaerobic metabolism.

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