American Review of Respiratory Disease

Periodic breathing (PB) during exercise in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) is associated with prominent oscillations (OSC) of O2 uptake (O2). We hypothesized that the O2 OSC represent OSC in true O2 exchange, resulting from concomitant cardiac output fluctuations and are not merely due to OSC of lung O2 stores. We compared the amplitude of the OSC of O2, ventilation (e), and end-expiratory lung volume (EELV) in 17 patients with CHF and PB and in seven healthy control subjects who volitionally simulated PB. Subjects underwent an incremental and/or a constant work-rate exercise test. e and O2 were measured breath by breath. EELV change was estimated by summing the difference between inspiratory and expiratory tidal volumes for each breath. The amplitude of the OSC, Δ, is expressed as the ratio of the difference between the peak and nadir of the oscillating variable divided by its mean [Δ = (peak - nadir)/mean]. In CHF, during incremental testing, the amplitude of the e OSC was smaller than that of the O2 OSC (Δe = 49 ± 15% [SD], ΔO2 = 63 ± 25%, p < 0.01). In contrast, during volitional PB in the control subjects, e OSC were larger than O2 OSC (Δe = 48 ± 12%, ΔO2 = 25 ± 11%, p < 0.01). This suggests that changing e Itself cannot account for the marked O2 OSC seen in CHF. In the patients, EELV showed no systematic OSC, did not correlate with ΔO2, and was not significantly different from zero. In contrast, in the control subjects, EELV tended to be lower at peak e (−0.14 ± 0.5 L, p = 0.06), and it was well correlated with ΔO2 (r = 0.6, p < 0.01). In conclusion, O2 oscillations in patients with CHF are more prominent than the associated e OSC, are greater than the O2 OSC that can be induced by volitional PB, and are not associated with changes in EELV. This supports the hypothesis that cardiac output OSC contribute to O2 OSC.


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