Chamber for indirect calorimetry with accurate measurement and time discrimination of metabolic plateaus of over 20 min

Med Biol Eng Comput. 2003 Sep;41(5):572-8. doi: 10.1007/BF02345320.


A robust algorithm for pull-calorimeters that provides a rapid response to changes in respiratory gas exchange has been implemented. Metabolic plateaus (over 20 min), such as that generated by steady treadmill exercise, can be measured accurately (< 2.0% error for an energy expenditure level of 16.7 kJ min(-1)). The time resolution for changes between plateaus can be accurately found with 1 min discrimination. Implementation required only software changes but no structural or instrumentation changes to the chamber. The algorithm was based on the one developed for the push-calorimeter at the Sahlgrenska Hospital in Sweden. The method utilises published equations for the rate of O2 consumption and CO2 production in the chamber, along with techniques for suppressing noise and identifying trends. Using the exact solution of the equations for steady state, the O2 concentrations from the preceding 30 min period are fitted to two connected exponential segments, of variable length, using the least-squares method. The smoothed O2 concentration and associated time derivative are then determined for the time point 15 min earlier and substituted into the respiration equations. The CO2 concentrations are subjected to the same analysis. The process is repeated every minute, and the newly computed rates of O2 consumption and CO2 production, as well as metabolic rate, are then presented. Gas injection tests proved that the chamber can respond instantaneously to a change from one steady state of respiration to another and correctly averages repeated changes in respiration with periods less than 15min (< 1.4% error for simulated, alternating O2 consumption levels of 0.81 min (-1) and 0.01 min). The successful integration of the algorithm into the Pennington chambers allows for traditional 24 h energy expenditure measurements and various metabolic experiments requiring rapid responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Calorimetry, Indirect / methods*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Humans
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange
  • Reaction Time
  • Reproducibility of Results