European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 114, Issue 8, pp 1555–1562 | Cite as

Effect of acute normobaric hypoxia on the ventilatory threshold

  • Carla A. Gallagher
  • Mark E. T. Willems
  • Mark P. Lewis
  • Stephen D. Myers
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

This study investigated the response of the ventilatory threshold (VT) to acute normobaric hypoxia and compared the agreement between software-based algorithms which use automatic detection to identify the VT. Results were used to examine whether the VT can be used as a physiological parameter to prescribe and monitor exercise intensity in hypoxic exercise training programs.

Methods

Fourteen untrained individuals (7 women, 7 men; age 22 ± 2 years, \(\dot{V}\)O2peak 46 ± 7 mL kg−1 min−1) completed five identical graded exercise tests (randomized order) on a cycle ergometer to measure VT at sea-level (SL) and in response to four normobaric hypoxic conditions (FIO2: 0.185, 0.165, 0.142, 0.125) equivalent to 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 and 4,000 m. Data were analyzed using a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures.

Results

The VT was similar across all conditions (SL = 1.98 ± 0.46, 1,000 m = 2.03 ± 0.61, 2,000 m = 2.27 ± 0.62, 3,000 m = 1.84 ± 0.50, 4,000 m = 2.29 ± 0.58 L min−1) for all algorithms used despite a reduction in arterial oxygen saturation at 3,000 (P ≤ 0.01) and 4,000 m (P ≤ 0.01) compared with SL values.

Conclusion

The VT appears to be a suitable physiological parameter for exercise prescription in normobaric hypoxia up to an altitude of 4,000 m.

Keywords

Normobaric hypoxia Exercise prescription Cycle ergometry Ventilatory threshold Altitude 

Abbreviations

ANOVA

Analysis of variance

FIO2

Ambient inspiratory oxygen fractions

GXT

Graded exercise test

H+

Hydrogen ion

HR

Heart rate

HRpeak

Peak heart rate

HRVT

Heart rate at ventilatory threshold

RCP

Respiratory compensation point

RH

Relative humidity

RPE

Rating of perceived exertion

SD

Standard deviation

SL

Sea-level

SPO2

Arterial oxygen saturation measured using infrared pulse oximetry

tamb

Ambient temperature

\(\dot{V}\)CO2

Rate of carbon dioxide production

\(\dot{V}\)Epeak

Peak rate of ventilation

\(\dot{V}\)O2

Oxygen consumption

\(\dot{V}\)O2

Rate of oxygen consumption

\(\dot{V}\)O2peak

Peak rate of oxygen consumption

\(\dot{V}\)O2VT

Rate of oxygen consumption at ventilatory threshold

\(\dot{W}\)peak

Peak power output

VT

Ventilatory threshold

WVT

Power at ventilatory threshold

Notes

Acknowledgments

There were no external funding sources used in the preparation of this article. C A Gallagher is currently receiving financial support in the form of a bursary allowance from the University of Chichester.

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interests concerning the preparation of this article.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carla A. Gallagher
    • 1
  • Mark E. T. Willems
    • 1
  • Mark P. Lewis
    • 2
  • Stephen D. Myers
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sport and Exercise SciencesUniversity of ChichesterChichesterUK
  2. 2.Loughborough UniversityLoughboroughUK

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