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European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 114, Issue 8, pp 1635–1643 | Cite as

Blood lactate and ventilatory thresholds in wheelchair athletes with tetraplegia and paraplegia

  • C. A. Leicht
  • K. E. Griggs
  • J. Lavin
  • K. Tolfrey
  • V. L. Goosey-TolfreyEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to analyse the influence of spinal cord injury level on blood lactate (BLa) and ventilatory thresholds.

Methods

Ten athletes with tetraplegia (TETRA) and nine athletes with paraplegia (PARA) performed a graded wheelchair propulsion treadmill exercise step test to exhaustion. The aerobic and anaerobic BLa thresholds, the ventilatory threshold and the respiratory compensation point (RCP) were determined.

Results

The BLa thresholds were determined in 34 of 38 cases, ventilatory thresholds and RCPs in 31 of 38 cases. The anaerobic BLa threshold (76 ± 7 % \(\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{peak}}}}\)) and the RCP (77 ± 8 % \(\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{peak}}}}\)) did not differ significantly from each other (P = 0.92), with a coefficient of variation of 4.8 ± 3.4 % between thresholds. All other thresholds differed significantly from each other (P < 0.05). Thresholds expressed as the percentage of peak oxygen uptake did not differ between TETRA and PARA (P > 0.05) despite altered breathing in TETRA, which included a higher ventilatory equivalent for oxygen and a lower tidal volume.

Conclusion

Measuring BLa leads to a higher threshold determination rate compared with ventilatory data and the anaerobic BLa threshold can be used to predict the RCP. The altered breathing in TETRA does not seem to have a pronounced effect on the ventilatory threshold or the RCP.

Keywords

Spinal cord injury Exercise prescription Wheelchair rugby Wheelchair basketball Ventilatory equivalent Wheelchair exercise 

Abbreviations

AB

Able-bodied

ANOVA

Analysis of variance

BLa

Blood lactate

CV

Coefficient of variation

ES

Effect size

GXT

Graded exercise test to exhaustion

PARA

Individuals with paraplegia

RCP

Respiratory compensation point

RPE

Rating of perceived exertion

TETRA

Individuals with tetraplegia

v

Propulsion velocity

\(\dot{V}{\text{CO}}_{ 2}\)

CO2 production

\({{{\dot{{V}}{\text{CO}}_{ 2}}^{2} } \mathord{\left/ {\vphantom {{\dot{V}{\text{CO}}_{ 2}^{2} } {\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{ 2} - \dot{V}{\text{CO}}_{ 2} }}} \right. \kern-0pt} {\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{ 2} - \dot{V}{\text{CO}}_{ 2} }}\)

Excess production of CO2

\(\dot{V}{\text{E}}\)

Total ventilation

\({{\dot{V}{\text{E}}} \mathord{\left/ {\vphantom {{\dot{V}{\text{E}}} {\dot{V}{\text{CO}}_{ 2} }}} \right. \kern-0pt} {\dot{V}{\text{CO}}_{ 2} }}\)

Ventilatory equivalent for CO2

\({{\dot{V}{\text{E}}} \mathord{\left/ {\vphantom {{\dot{V}{\text{E}}} {\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{ 2} }}} \right. \kern-0pt} {\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{ 2} }}\)

Ventilatory equivalent for oxygen

\(\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{ 2}\)

Oxygen uptake

\(\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{max}}}}\)

Maximum oxygen consumption

\(\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{2{\text{peak}}}\)

Peak oxygen uptake

VT

Ventilatory threshold

95 % CI

95 % confidence interval of the differences

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby Ltd. and British Wheelchair Basketball for their support. Appreciation is extended to all sportsmen who volunteered to participate in this study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standard

The authors declare that the conducted experiments comply with the current laws of the country in which they were performed.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. Leicht
    • 1
  • K. E. Griggs
    • 1
  • J. Lavin
    • 1
  • K. Tolfrey
    • 1
  • V. L. Goosey-Tolfrey
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences, The Peter Harrison Centre for Disability SportLoughborough UniversityLoughboroughUK

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