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Hyperoxia improves maximal exercise with the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)

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The effects of hyperoxia on maximal exercise while breathing from a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) were studied in 25 males. Each participant completed three graded exercise tests (GXT) for the assessment of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max): two with 20.95 ± 0.28% O2 and the third (GXT40) while breathing hyperoxia (40.64 ± 1.29% O2). No significant differences were found between the two normoxic tests, except for a 16W increase in maximal power output (POmax) in the second trial (GXT21). Compared to GXT21, hyperoxia significantly increased VO2max and POmax by 10.0 ± 3.8% and 10.2 ± 7.1%, respectively. This was likely due to an increase in O2 delivery as suggested by the significantly higher oxyhemoglobin saturation. The increase in VO 2max with hyperoxia was similar to the increase in carbon dioxide production (9.3 ± 6.5%). No other significant differences were found at maximal exercise. However, at the intensity that elicited VO2max in GXT21, pulmonary ventilation and SCBA mask pressure were significantly lower during GXT40, suggesting a decrease in the work of breathing. These findings could have significant implications for occupations that involve heavy work with SCBA.
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Keywords: FIREFIGHTING; GRADED EXERCISE TEST; MASK PRESSURE; VO2 MAX

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6G 2H9 2: Faculty of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6G 2B7

Publication date: October 1, 2002

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