Purpose: To compare the response to constant-workrate cycling exercise between the mouthpiece and the facemask in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Methods: Ten patients with COPD (FEV1: 48 ± 14% pred, mean ± SD) performed two symptom-limited constant-workrate cycling exercise tests at 80% of their predetermined peak exercise capacity. One test was performed using a mouthpiece and the other with a facemask, in a random order. The endurance time to constant-workrate exercise was compared between the two interfaces. V̇O2, V̇CO2, ventilation (VE), inspiratory capacity, dyspnea Borg score, and heart rate responses during exercise were also compared.
Results: Endurance time was similar between the two interfaces (mean difference ± SD, 30 ± 74 s, P = 0.23). Except for the end-exercise values, which were lower with the facemask, the V̇O2, V̇CO2, and VE responses to submaximal exercise were similar between the two interfaces. Perception of dyspnea, inspiratory capacity, and heart rate kinetics were similar during the two exercise tests. No clear preference about either interface was expressed by the patients.
Conclusion: The mouthpiece and the facemask can be used with comparable results to determine the endurance time to constant-workrate cycling exercise in patients with COPD. Compared with the mouthpiece, the end-exercise values for V̇O2, V̇CO2, and VE were underestimated when a facemask was used. The similar responses in heart rate and symptom perception suggest that this could be due to an air leak at end-exercise with the facemask.