Introduction Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an autosomal, recessive disease characterised by a mutation or dysfunction. Patients suffer a number of complications caused by poor sodium and chloride transport across cell membranes leading to viscous secretions. The disease is life limiting and around 85% of these early deaths are a result of respiratory failure with the most accurate prognosis marker being maximum volume of oxygen utilisation (VO2 max). This parameter is affected by a number of factors and can be increased or preserved through correct exercise prescription. For maximal benefits exercise should be targeted around anaerobic threshold however this is not easily identifiable during regular activities.
Method 15 patients with CF underwent Cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) to establish whether there was a significant correlation between Forced Expiratory Volume in one second percent predicted (FEV1%) and Heart Rate Reserve (HRR) at Anaerobic Threshold (AT) as a method of giving an easily monitored parameter (Heart Rate) as a target during exercise, for a given severity of lung disease, to gain maximal benefits from the activity.
Results The correlation between FEV1% and HRR at AT was found to be very weak, r (13) = 0.269, p > 0.05 however there was a strong correlation between FEV1% and Maximum volume of utilised oxygen percent Predicted (VO2 max%), r (13) = 0.601, p < 0.05.
Discussion This study shows that FEV1% can not be used as a predictor of HRR at AT, however the lack of correlation does show a narrow window for HRR in which patients with CF should aim in order to exercise near AT and ultimately improve their fitness and prognosis. The strong correlation between FEV1% and VO2 max% serves a great purpose in the that prognosis and 5 year mortality risk can be estimated from a lung function test widely available and frequently performed as opposed to CPET which is only available in specialist centres.