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Respir Physiol. 1998 Mar;111(3):271-81.

The time course of pulmonary diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide following short duration high intensity exercise.

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The University of British Columbia, Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Center, Vancouver, Canada.


We investigated the time course of changes in post-exercise pulmonary diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO), membrane diffusing capacity (DM), and pulmonary capillary blood volume (VC) in highly trained (HT), moderately trained (MT) and untrained (UT) male subjects (n = 8/group). Subjects were assigned to groups based on their aerobic capacity from a preliminary VO2max test (HT > or = 65, MT = 50-60, UT < or = 50 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1)). Resting (BASE) DLCO, DM and VC were obtained, then subjects cycled to fatigue at the highest workrate attained during the preliminary tests. Diffusion measurements were then made at 1, 2, 4, 6 and 24 h. DLCO was depressed at 1 h, lowest at 6 h and approached BASE values at 24 h in all groups. The DLCO change was paralleled by a change in VC. Alterations to VC were similar between groups except at 24 h where MT and HT subjects had returned to BASE while UT did not. DM was significantly lower than BASE at 1, 2, 4, and 6 h, and was similar between groups. The changes in DLCO post-exercise appear to be primarily due to a decrease in VC. Comparable diffusion decrements were observed in all subjects. The results of this study suggest that post-exercise alterations in DLCO, DM and VC are not related to aerobic capacity.

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