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The effects of hyperoxia on performance during simulated firefighting work

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This study evaluated the effects of hyperoxia (inspired oxygen fraction=40%) on performance during a simulated firefighting work circuit (SFWC) consisting of five events. On separate days, 17 subjects completed at least three orientation trials followed by two experimental trials while breathing either normoxic (NOX) and hyperoxic (HOX) gas mixtures that were randomly assigned in double-blind, cross-over design. Previously, ventilatory threshold (T vent) and V O2max had been determined during graded exercise (GXT) on a cycle ergometer. Lactate concentration in venous blood was assessed at exactly 5 min after both the experimental trials and after the GXT. Total time to complete the SFWC was decreased by 4% (p< 0.05) with HOX. No differences were observed in individual event times early in the circuit, however HOX resulted in a 12% improvement (p< 0.05) on the final event. A significantly decreased rating of perceived exertion (RPE) was also recorded immediately prior to the final event. No differences were observed in mean heart rate or post-exercise blood lactate when comparing NOX to HOX. Heart rates during the SFWC (both conditions) were higher than HR at T vent, but lower than HR at V O2max (p< 0.05). Post-SFWC lactate values were higher (p< 0.05) than post- V O2max. These results demonstrate that hyperoxia provided a small but significant increase in performance during short duration, high intensity simulated firefighting work.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2000

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