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Relationship of peak exercise capacity with indexes of peripheral muscle vasodilation


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: October 1996 - Volume 28 - Issue 10 - p 1254-1259
Basic Sciences: Original Investigations

Since leg muscles receive the majority of cardiac output and consume a large proportion of total oxygen consumption (˙VO2) during cycle exercise, maximum leg blood flow may be an important determinant of peak˙VO2 (˙VO2peak). We investigated the relationships between parameters of active hyperemia after thigh tourniquet occlusion (alone or with calf exercise) with whole body peak exercise capacity during maximum cycle exercise. Twenty-one healthy male subjects, aged 19-39 yr, performed maximum incremental cycle exercise. Calf blood flow, conductance (blood flow/mean blood pressure), vasodilatory capacity (peak/baseline conductance), and duration of vasodilation were then determined with venous occlusive plethysmography under two conditions: 1) after thigh tourniquet occlusion for 10 min; 2) after ischemic calf exercise (thigh tourniquet occlusion with calf exercise to exhaustion). Group mean ˙VO2peak was 120 ± 35%(standard deviation) predicted. There was a significant relationship between˙VO2peak/lean body mass and peak calf conductance after maximum ischemic calf exercise (r = 0.556; P < 0.01). However,˙VO2peak/lean body mass was more closely correlated with the duration of vasodilation after thigh tourniquet occlusion with ischemic calf exercise (r = 0.861; P < 0.001). These results suggest that the duration of calf vasodilation after maximal ischemic calf exercise appears to be a better index of cycle exercise capacity in healthy subjects.

Respiratory Division, Royal Victoria Hospital and the Montreal Chest Institute, and Meakins-Christie Laboratories, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, CANADA

Submitted for publication December 1994.

Accepted for publication July 1996.

Epaminondas N. Kosmas was the recipient of a fellowship from the Health, Welfare and Social Securities Ministry of Greece. Sabah N. A. Hussain was supported by MRC (Canada) and the Quebec Heart Foundation. Josep M. Montserrat was the recipient of a fellowship from Fondo Investigaciones Sanitarias(FISss) 1992, Spain. Robert D. Levy was supported by the Quebec Pulmonary Association.

Address for correspondence: Dr. Robert D. Levy, Respiratory Division, Royal Victoria Hospital, Room L4.08, 687 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3A 1A1.

©1996The American College of Sports Medicine