Test-retest variability of VO2max using total-capture indirect calorimetry reveals linear relationship of VO2 and Power

Paul F. M. Schoffelen*, Marcel den Hoed, Eric van Breda, Guy Plasqui

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study aimed to analyze the intra-individual variation in VO2max of human subjects using total-capture and free-flow indirect calorimetry. Twenty-seven men (27 +/- 5 year; VO2max 49-79 mL center dot kg(-1)center dot min(-1)) performed two maximal exertion tests (CPETs) on a cycle ergometer, separated by a 7 +/- 2 day interval. VO2 and VCO2 were assessed using an indirect calorimeter (Omnical) with total capture of exhalation in a free-flow airstream. Thirteen subjects performed a third maximal exertion test using a breath-by-breath calorimeter (Oxycon Pro). On-site validation was deemed a requirement. For the Omnical, the mean within-subject CV for VO2max was 1.2 +/- 0.9% (0.0%-4.4%) and for ergometer workload P (max) 1.3 +/- 1.3% (0%-4.6%). VO2max values with the Oxycon Pro were significantly lower in comparison with Omnical (P t test) with mean 3570 vs 4061 and difference SD 361 mL center dot min(-1). Validation results for the Omnical with methanol combustion were -0.05 +/- 0.70% (mean +/- SD; n = 31) at the 225 mL center dot min(-1) VO2 level and -0.23 +/- 0.80% (n = 31) at the 150 mL center dot min(-1) VCO2 level. Results using gas infusion were 0.04 +/- 0.75% (n = 34) and -0.99 +/- 1.05% (n = 24) over the respective 500-6000 mL center dot min(-1) VO2 and VCO2 ranges. Validation results for the Oxycon Pro in breath-by-breath mode were - 2.2 +/- 1.6% (n = 12) for VO2 and 5.7 +/- 3.3% (n = 12) for VCO2 over the 1000-4000 mL center dot min(-1) range. On a Visual analog scale, participants reported improved breathing using the free-flow indirect calorimetry (score 7.6 +/- 1.2 vs 5.1 +/- 2.7, P = 0.008). We conclude that total capturing free-flow indirect calorimetry is suitable for measuring VO2 even with the highest range. VO2max was linear with the incline in P (max) over the full range.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-222
Number of pages10
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • breath-by-breath
  • exercise testing
  • gas exchange
  • intra-individual variability
  • validation
  • DOTO(2MAX)

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