Reliability and Validity of Measures of Cardiac Output During Incremental to Maximal Aerobic Exercise
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For exercise physiologists and sport cardiologists, one of the greatest challenges is to develop a valid, reliable, noninvasive and affordable measure of cardiac output (Q). There are several techniques available to measure Q during exercise conditions. These procedures generally provide accurate and reliable determinations of Q during submaximal exercise, but may be limited during maximal exercise conditions. The most commonly used noninvasive measures are the acetylene (C2H2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) rebreathe methods as reviewed in part I of this article. Only the foreign gas rebreathe method, using C2H2, meets all of the criteria of being noninvasive, easy to use, reliable and valid for use during maximal exercise. New methodologies have recently been developed to measure Q during exercise conditions. Although not as popular as the C2H2 and CO2 rebreathe methods, these methods have increasingly gained favour in exercise physiology and sport cardiology settings. The majority of these measures (if performed meticulously), with the exception of impedance cardiography, provide reasonably accurate and reliable determinations of Q. However, the cost of usage and technological limitations during maximal exercise have prevented these techniques from replacing the conventional measures of Q during exercise conditions. Doppler echocardiography and the modified C2H2 methods hold promise for the assessment of Q during maximal exercise. With further advances in these technologies their use in exercise physiology and sport cardiology setting may become more common.
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