Hyperhydration prior to moderate-intensity exercise causes arterial hypoxaemia.

L. Sosa Leon, D. R. Hodgson, D. L. Evans, S. P. Ray, Gary Carlson, R. J. Rose

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14 Scopus citations


The second day of a 3-day event is the most physically demanding of the 3 days. If this is performed under hot and humid environmental conditions, detrimental effects on cardiovascular and thermoregulatory function and, therefore, on exercise capacity, may occur due to exercise-induced dehydration. We hypothesised that the administration of fluid equivalent to 6% of the horse's bodyweight prior to a simulated second day of a 3-day event would increase plasma volume and limit increases in core temperature. Seven Standardbred geldings underwent a training protocol prior to the study. A standardised exercise test was developed for each horse so that exercise intensity at each phase would be the same percentage of the maximal heart rate for all horses. The exercise test involved 4 phases: Phase A involved 30 min exercise at 3.7 m/s (approximately 25% VO2max); Phase B 4 min exercise at 8 m/s (approximately 60% VO2max); and Phase C 50 min at 3.7 m/s, after which there was a 10 min rest. Phase D involved 14 min at 7.3 m/s (55% VO2max). In a cross-over design, horses were grouped randomly and allocated to either exercise with no fluid (control) or approximately 26 l isotonic fluid by nasogastric tube, 120 min prior to exercise. Arterial and mixed venous blood samples were collected prior to exercise, towards the end of each of the phases and during the rest period. The administration of fluid prior to exercise resulted in a pre-exercise bodyweight gain of 21.3 +/- 1.2 kg. Hyperhydration resulted in a greater degree of arterial hypoxaemia than the control group in Phases B and D, but not in Phases A and C or at rest. During Phases B and D, mean PaO2 values in the horses that received fluid were about 15 torr lower than in the control group, but there were no differences in PaCO2 values between the 2 groups. In both arterial and mixed venous blood, pH and HCO3- were significantly lower in the group that were hyperhydrated. We concluded that the most likely cause of the more severe arterial hypoxaemia in the hyperhydrated group during the intense exercise phase was some degree of pulmonary oedema, from the extravasation of the administered fluid. Hyperhydration prior to exercise may be detrimental to respiratory function and therefore care must be taken in administration of large volumes of fluid prior to exercise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-429
Number of pages5
JournalEquine veterinary journal. Supplement
Issue number34
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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