The ventilatory CO2 sensitivities from Read's rebreathing method and the steady-state method are not equal in man

J Physiol. 1989 Apr;411:367-77. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1989.sp017578.


1. The ventilatory response to changes in end-tidal carbon dioxide tension during hyperoxia, obtained with Read's rebreathing method and a steady-state technique, were compared. 2. In ten young male subjects, forty successful rebreathing and thirteen steady-state experiments were performed on thirteen different morning sessions. 3. In all subjects the ventilatory CO2 sensitivities obtained with the rebreathing method (Sr) were appreciably larger than the steady-state CO2 sensitivities (Ss). The ratio Sr/Ss ranged from 1.40 to 2.59 with a mean value of 1.85. 4. We argue that these results can be explained by considering the effect of changes in cerebral blood flow upon increasing the arterial CO2 tension during rebreathing and the steady state. 5. We conclude that in general the CO2 sensitivity obtained with Read's rebreathing method does not represent the steady-state CO2 sensitivity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carbon Dioxide / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mathematics
  • Oxygen / blood*
  • Respiration*
  • Time Factors


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Oxygen