Comparison of Two Metabolic Simulators Used for Gas Exchange Verification in Cardiopulmonary Exercise Test Carts

Front Physiol. 2021 Jun 3;12:667386. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2021.667386. eCollection 2021.


Introduction: Metabolic simulators (MS) produce simulated human breaths for the purpose of verification of cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) equipment. MS should produce consistent identical breaths with known CO2 and O2 gas concentrations over a range of breath rates and tidal volumes. Reliability of a CPET metabolic cart depends on ongoing quality control and maintenance of the device, including intermittent verification with a MS. We compared two MS devices against two standard CPET systems.

Methods: The Vacumed 17056 (Vacumetrics, Ventura, CA) and Relitech (Relitech Systems BV, Nijkerk, The Netherlands) were used with two standard metabolic carts (Vyntus CPX and Vyntus ONE, both Vyaire Medical, Mettawa, IL, United States). Tidal volume (VT) was set at 2 and 3 L and breathing frequency ranged from 20 to 80 breaths per minute for each MS. At each set point, we measured three sets of 40 breaths. Primary outcome parameters collected were VT, oxygen consumption ( v . O2), carbon dioxide production ( v . CO2), and respiratory exchange ratio (RER).

Results: VT, RER, v . O2, and v . CO2 results as obtained from both MS were all within the limits of acceptability, at both tidal volume settings, and all ventilatory rates. No significant trends were identified for either MS device. The Relitech MS produced tidal volumes that were closer to the target VT for both CPET carts at both VT and all rates, but the results of both MS were within acceptable ranges.

Conclusion: Verification of CPET equipment using either the VM or RT metabolic simulator, producing highly accurate and predictable simulated breaths of known composition, enabling CPET laboratory managers to rely on subject test data obtained during cardiopulmonary exercise testing.

Keywords: Vyntus CPX; Vyntus ONE; calibration; cardiopulmonary exercise test; metabolic cart; metabolic simulator; respiratory exchange ratio.