Measuring VO2 in hypoxic and hyperoxic conditions using dynamic gas mixing with a flow-through indirect calorimeter

Eric K. Birks, Hajime Ohmura, James H. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Measurements of gas exchange while breathing gases of different O2 concentrations are useful in respiratory and exercise physiology. High bias flows required in flow-through indirect calorimetry systems for large animals like exercising horses necessitate the use of inconveniently large reservoirs of mixed gases for making such measurements and can limit the amount of equilibration time that is adequate for steady-state measurements. We obviated the need to use a pre-mixed reservoir of gas in a semi-open flow-through indirect calorimeter by dynamically mixing gases and verified the theoretical accuracy and utility of making such measurements using the mass-balance N2-dilution method. We evaluated the accuracy of the technique at different inspired oxygen fractions by measuring exercising oxygen consumption (VO2) at two fully aerobic submaximal exercise intensities in Thoroughbred horses. Horses exercised at 24% and 50% maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 max) of each horse while breathing different O2 concentrations (19.5%, 21% and 25% O2). The N2-dilution technique was used to calculate VO2. Repeated-measures ANOVA was used to tested for differences in VO2 between different inspired O2 concentrations. The specific VO2 of the horses trotting at 24%VO2max and cantering at 50%VO2max were not significantly different among the three different inspired oxygen fractions. These findings demonstrate that reliable measurements of VO2 can be obtained at various inspired oxygen fractions using dynamic gas mixing and the N2-dilution technique to calibrate semi-opencircuit gas flow systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-92
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Equine Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Horse
  • N dilution
  • Oxygen consumption
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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