Cardiopulmonary assessment through oxygen uptake efficiency slope (OUES) data has shown encouraging results, revealing that we can obtain important clinical information about functional status. Until now, the use of OUES has not been established as a measure of cardiorespiratory capacity in an obese adult population, only in cardiac and pulmonary diseases or pediatric patients.
The aim of this study was to characterize submaximal and maximal levels of OUES in a sample of morbidly obese women and analyze its relationship with traditional measures of cardiorespiratory fitness, anthropometry and pulmonary function. Thirty-three morbidly obese women (age 39.1 ± 9.2 years) performed Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing (CPX) on a treadmill using the ramp protocol. In addition, anthropometric measurements and pulmonary function were also evaluated. Maximal and submaximal OUES were measured, being calculated from data obtained in the first 50% (OUES50%) and 75% (OUES75%) of total CPX duration. In one-way ANOVA analysis, OUES did not significantly differ between the three different exercise intensities, as observed through a Bland-Altman concordance of 58.9 mL/min/log(L/min) between OUES75% and OUES100%, and 0.49 mL/kg/min/log(l/min) between OUES/kg75% and OUES/kg100%. A strong positive correlation between the maximal (r = 0.79) and submaximal (r = 0.81) OUES/kg with oxygen consumption at peak exercise (VO2peak) and ventilatory anaerobic threshold (VO2VAT) was observed, and a moderate negative correlation with hip circumference (r = -0.46) and body adiposity index (r = -0.50) was also verified.
There was no significant difference between maximal and submaximal OUES, showing strong correlations with each other and oxygen consumption (peak and VAT). These results indicate that OUES can be a useful parameter which could be used as a cardiopulmonary fitness index in subjects with severe limitations to perform CPX, as for morbidly obese women.