Evaluation of the dead space/tidal volume ratio in patients with chronic congestive heart failure

J Card Fail. 1995 Dec;1(5):401-8. doi: 10.1016/s1071-9164(05)80009-0.


Dead space/tidal volume ratio (VD/VT) evaluation is currently performed in patients with respiratory and cardiac disorders, and includes measurement of arterial CO2 partial pressure (PaCO2). PaCO2 is generally derived from either PETCO2 (end-expiratory CO2 pressure) or PJCO2 (calculated as PJCO2 = 5.5 + 0.9 PETCO2 - 2.1 VT). The applicability of these methods may be questionable in chronic heart failure due to its frequent association with lung dysfunction. In 63 patients with congestive heart failure, the authors compared PaCO2 versus PETCO2 and PJCO2 and VD/VT measured with PaCO2 versus VD/VT estimated with PETCO2 (estimation 1) or PJCO2 (estimation 2). Comparisons were made at rest, at submaximal exercise, and at peak exercise. Considering all 326 measurements, there was a strong correlation, but not an identity, between PaCO2 and PETCO2 (PaCO2 = 7.25 + 0.80 PETCO2, r = .84, P < .0001) and between PaCO2 and PJCO2 (PaCO2 = 6.18 + 0.84 PJCO2, r = .85, P < .0001). Results were comparable concerning PaCO2 versus PJCO2. Measured VD/VTs also strongly correlated with estimated VD/VTs (VD/VT measured = -0.03 + 1.11 VD/VT [estimation 1], r = .90, P < .0001, and VD/VT measured = 0.03 + 0.92 VD/VT [estimation 2], r = .90, P < .0001). However, only at rest and, solely for estimation 1, at submaximal exercise were the slopes and y intercepts of measured versus estimated VD/VT not different from 1 and 0, respectively; in this regard, lung dysfunction was more influential than the severity of cardiac failure. Although PaCO2 strongly correlates with PETCO2 and PJCO2, these measurements may not be reliable for a noninvasive calculation of VD/VT in chronic congestive heart failure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Dioxide / blood
  • Chronic Disease
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Partial Pressure
  • Respiratory Dead Space / physiology*
  • Tidal Volume / physiology*


  • Carbon Dioxide