Effect of mild-to-moderate airflow limitation on exercise capacity

T. G. Babb, R. Viggiano, B. Hurley, B. Staats, J. R. Rodarte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


To determine the effect of mild-to-moderate airflow limitation on exercise tolerance and end-expiratory lung volume (EELV), we studied 9 control subjects with normal pulmonary function [forced expired volume in 1 s (FFV1) 105% pred; % of forced vital capacity expired in 1 s (FEV1/FVC%) 81] and 12 patients with mild-to-moderate airflow limitation (FEV1 72% pred; FEV1/FVC% 58) during progressive cycle ergometry. Maximal exercise capacity was reduced in patients [69% of pred maximal O2 uptake (V̇O(2 max))] compared with controls (104% pred V̇O(2 max), P < 0.01); however, maximal expired minute ventilation-to-maximum voluntary ventilation ratio and maximal heart rate were not significantly different between controls and patients. Overall, there was a close relationship between V̇O(2 max) and FEV1 (r2 = 0.62). Resting EELV was similar between controls and patients [53% of total lung capacity (TLC)], but at maximal exercise the controls decreased EELV to 45% of TLC (P < 0.01 ), whereas the patients increased EELV to 58% of TLC (P < 0.05). Overall, EELV was significantly correlated to both V̇O(2 max) (r = -0.71, P < 0.001) and FEV1 (r = -0.68, P < 0.001).This relationsbip suggests a ventilatory influence on exercise capacity; however, the increased EELV and associated pleural pressures could influence cardiovascular function during exercise. We suggest that the increase in EELV should be considered a response reflective of the effect of airflow limitation on the ventilatory response to exercise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-230
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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