Ventilatory mechanisms of exercise intolerance in chronic heart failure

American Heart Journal
J MyersV F Froelicher

Abstract

Mechanisms that have been suggested to underlie the abnormal ventilatory response to exercise in patients with chronic congestive heart failure (CHF) include high pulmonary pressures, ventilation-perfusion mismatching, early metabolic acidosis, and abnormal respiratory control. To evaluate the role that ventilation and gas exchange play in limiting exercise capacity in patients with CHF, data from 33 patients with CHF and 34 normal subjects of similar age who underwent maximal exercise testing were analyzed. Maximal oxygen uptake was higher among normal subjects (31.7 +/- 6 ml/kg/min) than among patients with CHF (17.7 +/- 4 ml/kg/min; p less than 0.001). The ventilatory equivalent for oxygen, expressed as a percentage of maximal oxygen uptake, was 25% to 35% higher among patients with CHF compared with normal subjects throughout exercise (p less than 0.01). A steeper component effect of ventilation on maximal oxygen uptake was observed among normal subjects compared with patients with CHF, which suggests that a significant portion of ventilation in CHF is wasted. Maximal oxygen uptake was inversely related to the ratio of maximal estimated ventilatory dead space to maximal tidal volume (VD/VT) in both groups (r = -0.73, p less...Continue Reading

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