The anaerobic threshold in cystic fibrosis: comparison of V-slope method, lactate turn points, and Conconi test.Pediatr Pulmonol 1998; 25(3):147-53PP
Physical exercise can improve sputum clearance in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). To set up individual training protocols it is desirable to know the anaerobic threshold (AT). Established methods such as blood lactate measurements and ergometry can only be performed in specialized centers. Conconi showed that the heart rate threshold (HRT), i.e., the deflection point from the linear relationship between work load and heart rate, correlated significantly with the AT in healthy adults. To assess the reliability of the HRT in CF, we performed ergometry in 32 CF patients (mean age, 21.0 +/- 5.5 years; mean Shwachman score, 77.8 +/- 12.0) according to the Conconi protocol. The HRT was compared with the aerobic threshold (AeT) as determined by the V-slope method and with two turn points in the lactate performance curve (LTP1, LTP2). An HRT could be obtained in only 17 of the 32 patients (53%). In these 17 patients there was a significant correlation between HRT and the other thresholds, but the absolute values for the AT differed considerably: The mean HRT was 132% higher than the AeT according to Beaver, 107% higher than LTP1, and 19% higher than LTP2. Exercise protocols that rely solely on the HRT in CF will lead to excessive exertion during exercise training programs in these patients. According to these results the HRT of Conconi is not a suitable method to determine appropriate exercise levels in CF training programs and might even be harmful in CF patients. These results also indicate the need to test the reliability of a diagnostic procedure that has been developed only for healthy people.