The relationship of heart rate reserve to VO2 reserve in patients with heart disease


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: March 2002 - Volume 34 - Issue 3 - pp 418-422
CLINICAL SCIENCES: Clinically Relevant

BRAWNER, C. A., S. J. KETEYIAN, and J. K. EHRMAN. The relationship of heart rate reserve to V̇O2 reserve in patients with heart disease. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 34, No. 3, pp. 418–422, 2002. Recent reports indicate that among healthy adults, % heart rate reserve (HRR) is more closely related to %V̇O2 reserve (V̇O2R) than it is to %V̇O2max. This finding, in addition to the disparity between %HRR and %V̇O2max which is greater at low intensities and among low fit individuals, led the American College of Sports Medicine to adopt the use of %V̇O2R in place of %V̇O2max when prescribing exercise intensity among healthy adults and persons with heart disease. However, the relationship of %HRR to %V̇O2R among persons with heart disease has not been described.

Purpose: Among patients with a myocardial infarction (MI) and patients with chronic heart failure (HF), test the hypothesis that %V̇O2R is equivalent to %HRR, while %V̇O2peak is not.

Methods: Using a clinical cardiology outcomes database, symptom-limited treadmill tests from 65 patients with MI and 72 patients with HF were identified. Heart rate and V̇O2 data were measured continuously and averaged every 15 s. For each subject, linear regression was used to calculate the slope and y-intercept of %HRR versus %V̇O2R (assuming rest V̇O2 = 3.5 mL·kg−1·min−1) and %HRR versus %V̇O2peak. Mean slope and y-intercept were calculated for each group and compared with the line of identity (slope = 1, y-intercept = 0).

Results: For the MI and HF groups, the slope of %HRR versus %V̇O2R was 0.96 ± 0.02 (±SE;P = NS, slope vs 1) and 0.97 ± 0.02 (P = NS), respectively. And the y-intercept was −1.9 ± 2.1% (P = NS, y-intercept vs 0) and −5.9 ± 2.1% (P < 0.05) for MI and HF, respectively. For both patient groups, the regression of %HRR versus %V̇O2peak resulted in a line that differed (P < 0.001) in both slope and y-intercept from the line of identity.

Conclusions: In patients with heart disease, %HRR is a better estimate of %V̇O2R than %V̇O2peak. This finding does not affect the current recommended use of %HRR. However, when prescribing exercise based on V̇O2, relative intensity should be expressed as %V̇O2R.

Preventive Cardiology, Henry Ford Heart & Vascular Institute, Detroit, MI

Submitted for publication March 2001.

Accepted for publication July 2001.

©2002The American College of Sports Medicine