Predicting maximal exercise ventilation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Chest. 1987 Aug;92(2):253-9. doi: 10.1378/chest.92.2.253.


Shortness of breath is a chief complaint of many individuals with cardiopulmonary diseases. Exercise testing is often used to help differentiate cardiac from pulmonary involvement. In assessing pulmonary dysfunction during exercise it is essential to know the point at which ventilatory limitation will occur. Numerous authors have presented regression equations based on the FEV1 for predicting either MVV or VEmax. Resting pulmonary function studies were obtained from 53 patients with COPD. Symptom-limited maximal exercise testing was completed on a cycle ergometer using increments of 10 watts/min. Each regression equation for predicting MVV or VEmax was then applied to the data set. Results showed that the FEV1 correlated with the measured VEmax (r = .81) as did PEF (r = .81), MVV (r = .78), IC (r = .78), DCO (r = .68), VA (r = .67), VE (r = .65) and FVC (r = .64). Single post-bronchodilator FEV1 measurements ranged from 0.56 to 1.64 L (mean 1.0 L) while VEmax ranged from 16 to 78 L/min (mean 37.69 L/min). The equation VEmax = 37.5 X FEV1 was the most robust equation found in the literature for predicting VEmax in this sample. This equation was not statistically different from the line of identity when predicted VEmax was plotted against the measured VEmax. The intercept was 0.91 with a slope of 0.98. In addition, this equation had a smaller mean square error in predicting VEmax than those of the other equations investigated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Maximal Voluntary Ventilation
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange*