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Alleviating mechanical constraints to ventilation with heliox improves exercise endurance in adult survivors of very preterm birth
  1. Joseph W Duke1,
  2. Amy M Zidron2,
  3. Igor M Gladstone3,
  4. Andrew T Lovering4
  1. 1 Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
  2. 2 Department of Pediatrics, Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Athens, Ohio, USA
  3. 3 Department of Pediatrics, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA
  4. 4 Department of Human Physiology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Joseph W Duke, Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff AZ 86011, USA; JJ.Duke{at}


Adult survivors of very preterm birth (PRET) have significantly lower aerobic exercise capacities than their counterparts born at term (CONT), but the underlying cause is unknown. To test whether expiratory flow limitation (EFL) during exercise negatively affects exercise endurance in PRET, we had PRET and CONT exercise to exhaustion breathing air and again breathing heliox. In PRET, EFL decreased and time-to-exhaustion increased significantly while breathing heliox. Heliox had a minimal effect on EFL and had no effect on time-to-exhaustion in CONT. We conclude that aerobic exercise endurance in PRET is limited, in part, by mechanical ventilatory constraints, specifically EFL.

  • exercise
  • lung physiology
  • paediatric lung disaese

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  • Contributors JWD, IMG, ATL: conception and design of experiments. JWD, ATL: financial support. JWD, AMZ, IMG, ATL: collection and assembly of data; data analysis and interpretation; manuscript writing and final approval of manuscript.

  • Funding This research was supported by an American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant #2280238 (ATL); American Physiological Society’s Giles F Filley Memorial Award for Excellence in Respiratory Physiology and Medicine (ATL); Medical Research Foundation of Oregon Early Clinical Investigator Award (JWD) and Ohio University Research Committee award (JWD).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval University of Oregon’s Office of Responsible Conduct of Research and Ohio University Office of Research Compliance.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it was published Online First. The city for affiliation 4 was incorrect.

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