Haemoglobin, blood volume, cardiac function, and aerobic power

Can J Appl Physiol. 1999 Feb;24(1):54-65. doi: 10.1139/h99-006.

Abstract

Alterations in [Hb], which are mediated through changes in arterial oxygen content, and alterations in BV, which are mediated through changes in cardiac output (Q), have a significant effect on both VO2max and aerobic performance. If BV is held constant, a decrease in [Hb] (anaemia) causes a decrease in VO2max and aerobic performance, while an increase in [Hb] (blood doping) causes an increase in VO2max and aerobic performance. If [Hb] is held constant, an increase in BV can cause and increase in both VO2max and aerobic performance, while a decrease in BV can cause a decrease in VO2max and aerobic performance. In addition, an increase in BV can compensate for moderate reductions in [Hb] through increase in Q, allowing VO2max to remain unchanged or even increase. Also, a large portion of the difference in the enhanced cardiovascular function of endurance athletes is due to their high BV and the resultant enhancement of diastolic function. Hence, optimizing both [Hb] and BV is a very important consideration for endurance performance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / blood*
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / therapy
  • Blood Volume / physiology*
  • Doping in Sports / methods*
  • Erythropoietin / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Stroke Volume

Substances

  • Hemoglobins
  • Erythropoietin