Standardising analysis of carbon monoxide rebreathing for application in anti-doping

J Sci Med Sport. 2011 Mar;14(2):100-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2010.07.007. Epub 2010 Sep 15.


Determination of total haemoglobin mass (Hbmass) via carbon monoxide (CO) depends critically on repeatable measurement of percent carboxyhaemoglobin (%HbCO) in blood with a hemoximeter. The main aim of this study was to determine, for an OSM3 hemoximeter, the number of replicate measures as well as the theoretical change in percent carboxyhaemoglobin required to yield a random error of analysis (Analyser Error) of ≤1%. Before and after inhalation of CO, nine participants provided a total of 576 blood samples that were each analysed five times for percent carboxyhaemoglobin on one of three OSM3 hemoximeters; with approximately one-third of blood samples analysed on each OSM3. The Analyser Error was calculated for the first two (duplicate), first three (triplicate) and first four (quadruplicate) measures on each OSM3, as well as for all five measures (quintuplicates). Two methods of CO-rebreathing, a 2-min and 10-min procedure, were evaluated for Analyser Error. For duplicate analyses of blood, the Analyser Error for the 2-min method was 3.7, 4.0 and 5.0% for the three OSM3s when the percent carboxyhaemoglobin increased by two above resting values. With quintuplicate analyses of blood, the corresponding errors reduced to .8, .9 and 1.0% for the 2-min method when the percent carboxyhaemoglobin increased by 5.5 above resting values. In summary, to minimise the Analyser Error to ∼≤1% on an OSM3 hemoximeter, researchers should make ≥5 replicates of percent carboxyhaemoglobin and the volume of CO administered should be sufficient increase percent carboxyhaemoglobin by ≥5.5 above baseline levels.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carbon Monoxide / administration & dosage*
  • Carboxyhemoglobin / analysis*
  • Carboxyhemoglobin / standards*
  • Doping in Sports*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oximetry / instrumentation*
  • Oximetry / standards*
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Carboxyhemoglobin