Breath-holding test in evaluation of peripheral chemoreflex sensitivity in healthy subjects

Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2017 Jan;235:79-82. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2016.10.005. Epub 2016 Oct 15.


The aim of the study was to determine the feasibility of using a breath-holding test in assessing the sensitivity of the peripheral chemoreflex compared with the single-breath carbon dioxide test. The study involved 48 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18-29 years. The breath-holding test was performed followed by the single-breath carbon dioxide test on the next day. A month after the first tests, these tests were repeated to evaluate their reproducibility The coefficient of variability in the single-breath carbon dioxide test ranged from 0 to 32% with a mean of 10±7%. The mean coefficient of variability of the breath-holding test was 6±4% (0-19%). A significant inverse correlation between the results of the two tests was noted following analysis (r=-0.82, p<0.05).

Conclusion: A breath-holding test after deep inspiration reflects the sensitivity of the peripheral chemoreflex as defined by the single-breath carbon dioxide test in healthy subjects.

Keywords: Breath-holding test; Peripheral chemoreflex sensitivity; Single-breath carbon dioxide test.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Breath Holding*
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Chemoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Reflex*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Young Adult


  • Carbon Dioxide