2018 Volume 12 Issue 4 Pages 432-437
Ventilation (VE) increases linearly with the increase of carbon dioxide output (VCO2) during cardiopulmonary exercise testing. VE-VCO2 slope rises in parallel with exercise intensity, reaches a turning point (called the RC point), then steepens because of respiratory compensation for lactic acidosis. While this RC point can be identified universally, it is undetectable in some patients. In this study we evaluated whether the respiratory compensation during exercise testing has clinical significance in cardiac patients. In total, 152 cardiac patients with a respiratory exchange ratio at peak exercise (peak R) of between 1.10 and 1.20 were enrolled. Cardiopulmonary parameters were compared between patients who manifested the RC point (n = 118) and those who did not (n = 34). The peak R did not significantly differ between these two groups. Compared to the patients without the RC point, those with the RC point had a higher oxygen uptake at peak exercise (peak VO2) (20.2 ± 5.3 vs 13.6 ± 3.4 mL/min/kg, p < 0.001), higher anaerobic threshold (AT) (12.4 ± 3.2 vs 9.2 ± 2.3 mL/min/kg, p < 0.001), and lower VE-VCO2 slope (31.7 ± 5.8 vs 37.8 ± 9.6, p = 0.001). Brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) tended to be lower in the patients with the RC point (175.4 ± 364.7 vs 327.9 ± 381.1 pg/mL, p = 0.067). Peak VO2, the marker of cardiopulmonary function, was found to be the independent predictor of the presence of the RC point. The present findings suggest that the phenomenon of respiratory compensation during heavy exercise indicates better cardiopulmonary function in cardiac patients within a prescribed range of effort.