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Reference Standards for Cardiorespiratory Fitness Measured With Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing Using Cycle Ergometry: Data From the Fitness Registry and the Importance of Exercise National Database (FRIEND) Registry

Published:December 07, 2016DOI:


      The importance of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is well established. This report provides newly developed standards for CRF reference values derived from cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPX) using cycle ergometry in the United States. Ten laboratories in the United States experienced in CPX administration with established quality control procedures contributed to the “Fitness Registry and the Importance of Exercise: A National Database” (FRIEND) Registry from April 2014 through May 2016. Data from 4494 maximal (respiratory exchange ratio, ≥1.1) cycle ergometer tests from men and women (20-79 years) from 27 states, without cardiovascular disease, were used to develop these references values. Percentiles of maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max) for men and women were determined for each decade from age 20 years through age 79 years. Comparisons of VO2max were made to reference data established with CPX data from treadmill data in the FRIEND Registry and previously published reports. As expected, there were significant differences between sex and age groups for VO2max (P<.01). For cycle tests within the FRIEND Registry, the 50th percentile VO2max of men and women aged 20 to 29 years declined from 41.9 and 31.0 mLO2/kg/min to 19.5 and 14.8 mLO2/kg/min for ages 70 to 79 years, respectively. The rate of decline in this cohort was approximately 10% per decade. The FRIEND Registry reference data will be useful in providing more accurate interpretations for the US population of CPX-measured VO2max from exercise tests using cycle ergometry compared with previous approaches based on estimations of standard differences from treadmill testing reference values.

      Abbreviations and Acronyms:

      BMI (body mass index), CPX (cardiopulmonary exercise testing), CRF (cardiorespiratory fitness), CVD (cardiovascular disease), FRIEND (Fitness Registry and the Importance of Exercise: A National Database), VO2max (maximum oxygen consumption)
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