Assessment of heart rate as a predictor of ventilation.

J. M. Samet, W. E. Lambert, D. S. James, C. M. Mermier, T. W. Chick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The rate of ventilation and route of breathing (i.e., nasal versus oronasal) are potential determinants of pollutant doses to target sites in the lung. However, the lack of accurate methods for ambulatory measurement of ventilation has hindered estimation of exposure and dose in freely ranging individuals, complicating the interpretation of the relationships among exposure, dose, and response in epidemiological studies. The goal of this project was to develop and validate a method of monitoring ventilation for large-scale epidemiologic investigations. We estimated ventilation for individual subjects from ambulatory heart rate monitoring, using the relationship between ventilation and heart rate that had been obtained during exercise testing. Fifty-eight subjects participated in the study, which included healthy adults and children, and subjects with lung and heart disease. Subjects performed cycle exercise and tasks involving lifting and vacuuming. Work loads of progressive and variable order were used in the testing. Conventional methods were used to measure heart rate and total ventilation, and a sampling mask was developed to measure the partitioning of breathing between oral and nasal routes. The minute ventilation-heart rate relation was evaluated under steady-state and varying work loads. In a second phase, subjects wore wristwatch monitors that recorded their heart rates, minute by minute, throughout the day. Subjects recorded activities, locations, and levels of exertion. Two 16-hour monitoring periods were obtained from each subject. The laboratory findings documented considerable intersubject variability in the minute ventilation-heart rate relation with a two- to five-fold range in the coefficients describing the change in ventilation relative to heart rate. This variation implies that individual testing is required to derive accurate predictive equations. Minute ventilation-heart rate regressions for the maximal progressive exercise test and for the test with a nonprogressive submaximal work load sequence were comparable, indicating that varying the sequence of work loads does not substantially affect the minute ventilation-to-heart rate ratio. During upper body work (e.g., lifting), the minute ventilation-to-heart rate ratio was one-third greater than during lower body exercise. Diverse patterns of partitioning breathing between oral and nasal routes were observed with increasing oral ventilation in most subjects as work load increased. In the field, heart rate and activity patterns were monitored successfully in adults and children with low rates of instrument failure and noncompliance.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-55; discussion 57-5569
JournalResearch report (Health Effects Institute)
Issue number59
StatePublished - May 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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