Validity, reliability and stability of the portable Cortex Metamax 3B gas analysis system

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2012 Jul;112(7):2539-47. doi: 10.1007/s00421-011-2230-7. Epub 2011 Nov 11.


This study investigated the performance of the portable Cortex Metamax 3B (MM3B) automated gas analysis system during both simulated and human exercise using adolescents. Repeated measures using a Gas Exchange System Validator (GESV) across a range of simulated metabolic rates, showed the MM3B to be adequately reliable (both percentage errors, and percentage technical error of measurements <2%) for measuring expired ventilation (V (E)), oxygen consumption (VO(2)), and carbon dioxide production (VCO(2)). Over a 3 h period, the MM3B was shown to be acceptably stable in measuring gas fractions, as well as V (E), VO(2), and VCO(2) generated by the GESV, especially at moderate and high metabolic rates (drifts <2% and of minor physiological significance). Using eight healthy adolescents during rest, moderate, and vigorous cycle ergometry, the validity of the MM3B was tested against the primary criterion Douglas bag method (DBM) and a secondary criterion machine known to be accurate, the Jaeger Oxycon Pro system. No significant errors in V (E) were noted, yet the MM3B significantly overestimated both VO(2) and VCO(2) by approximately 10-17% at moderate and vigorous exercise as compared to the DBM and at all exercise levels compared to the Oxycon Pro. No significant differences were seen in any metabolic variable between the two criterion systems (DBM and Oxycon Pro). It is concluded the MM3B produces acceptably stable and reliable results, but is not adequately valid during moderate and vigorous exercise without some further correction of VO(2) and VCO(2).

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Capnography / instrumentation*
  • Carbon Dioxide / analysis*
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Miniaturization
  • Oximetry / instrumentation*
  • Oxygen / analysis*
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spirometry / instrumentation*


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Oxygen