Multidimensional aspects of dyspnea in obese patients referred for cardiopulmonary exercise testing

Bryce N. Balmain, Kyle Weinstein, Vipa Bernhardt, Rubria Marines-Price, Andrew R. Tomlinson, Tony G. Babb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We investigated the contributions of obesity on multidimensional aspects of dyspnea on exertion (DOE) in patients referred for clinical cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET). Ratings of perceived breathlessness (RPB, Borg scale 0–10) were collected in obese (BMI ≥ 30; n = 47) and nonobese (BMI ≤ 25; n = 27) patients during two (one lower: ∼30 W; and one higher: ∼50 W) 4−6 min constant load cycling bouts. Multidimensional dyspnea profiles (MDP) were collected in the final 26 obese and 14 nonobese patients of the sample. RPB was greater (p = 0.05) in obese (3.3 ± 2.2 vs 2.4 ± 1.4) at lower work rates, but similar at higher work rates (4.9 ± 2.2 vs 4.4 ± 1.8). MDP sensory score including unpleasantness was 4.3 ± 2.2 in obese vs 2.5 ± 1.9 in nonobese (p < 0.001). The affective score was 1.9 ± 2.2 vs 0.7 ± 0.7, respectively (p < 0.01). Breathing sensations including ‘air hunger’, ‘effort’, and ‘breathing at lot’ were greater (p < 0.05) in obese, making these patients more frustrated/angry (p < 0.05). Obesity should be considered as a potential independent influencing factor that provokes DOE and unpleasantness when assessing breathlessness during CPET.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103365
JournalRespiratory Physiology and Neurobiology
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Breathlessness
  • Cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Exercise
  • Obesity
  • Shortness of breath

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Multidimensional aspects of dyspnea in obese patients referred for cardiopulmonary exercise testing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this