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The Use of a Verification Phase in Determination of VO2max in Older Adults

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Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) declines with age and is a predictor of morbidity and mortality risks. Due to these implications, accurate assessment and determination of VO2max are important for the

Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) declines with age and is a predictor of morbidity and mortality risks. Due to these implications, accurate assessment and determination of VO2max are important for the older population. Without the presence of a VO2 plateau, secondary criteria are used to determine whether the test resulted in a maximal value. However, inconsistent secondary criteria do not account for intersubject variability. To circumvent this issue, a verification phase following a traditional ramp assessment may be utilized. The purpose of this study was to compare verification phase strategies in older adults. A secondary purpose of this study was to examine the repeatability of the ramp assessment performed during each visit. Twenty-two older adults between 60 and 80 years of age were recruited to participate in the study. Each subject completed two experimental trials in a randomized, counterbalanced cross-over design. Both trials consisted of a ramp test and verification phase at either 85% (VP85) or 110% (VP110) of the peak work rate achieved during the ramp (Ramp85 and Ramp110, respectively). Expired gases and heart rate (HR) were monitored continuously and measured every ten seconds. VO2peak was determined by the highest 30-second averages for the ramp and verification phases. No significant differences were observed for absolute (L/min) VO2peak between VP85 (P = 0.679) or VP110 (P = 0.200) and the associated ramp. There was also no significant difference in maximal HR between VP85 (P = 0.243) or VP110 (P = 0.085) and the associated ramp. However, individual data shows that 36% of individuals achieved a 2% greater VO2 (L/min) during the VP85 compared to the Ramp85, while only 15% of subjects achieved a 2% greater VO2 (L/min) during the VP110 compared to Ramp110. No significant differences (P < 0.05) were found for most variables between Ramp1 and Ramp2. These data suggest that if a verification phase is employed for VO2max assessment in otherwise healthy older adults, a power slightly below peak work rate may provide a more accurate assessment compared to a power slightly above peak work rate.

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  • 2019