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Prevalence of exercise induced arterial hypoxemia in healthy females Richards, Jennifer Clarke


Exercise induced arterial hypoxaemia (EIAH) is reported to occur in ~ 50% of highly trained male aerobic athletes. EIAH can have detrimental effects on athletic performance. Reversal of EIAH has been reported to increase maximal oxygen consumption (VO₂max) and endurance performance time in some subjects during heavy exercise. The number of investigations involving EIAH and females are small, and the results thus far are controversial. It has been reported that some females experience EIAH at a relatively lower fitness level compared to males, while other studies report that the prevalence in females is no different from that of males. Anatomical differences may predispose females to certain EIAH mechanisms, which may increase the prevalence of EIAH in this population. Expiratory flow limitation has been correlated to EIAH in women and may contribute to inspiratory muscle fatigue. Inspiratory muscle fatigue is reported to occur in males following heavy bouts of exercise, however, the relationship between EIAH and inspiratory muscle fatigue in women, had not been determined. The purpose of this investigation was to determine the prevalence of EIAH in females and observe any relationship between EIAH and inspiratory muscle fatigue. The prevalence of EIAH in women was determined in a large sample of females (n = 52, mean = 26.5 years) (VO₂max range: 28.0 - 61.3 ml/kg/min). It was hypothesized that EIAH would occur with a greater prevalence and relatively lower % VO₂max than previously reported in males. Prior to and following exercise, subjects performed a maximal inspiratory pressure (MIP) maneuver of the mouth, and handgrip strength test. The exercise test consisted of an incremental test (50 watts/2.5 min) to exhaustion (VO₂max) on an electronically braked cycle ergometer. End tidal CO₂ (PETCO₂) was recorded at each stage of the test. In this study, the prevalence of EIAH in women was slightly greater than that previously reported for males (67 %, n = 35). Hypoxaemic participants were grouped according to their degree of desaturation: mild EIAH SaO₂ = 94-92 % (n = 19),

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