A simple method for measuring oxygen uptake on a single breath basis

Arsenio Veicsteinas, Maristella Gussoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A simple method for calculating breath by breath O2 uptake by the conventional open circuit method is described. Each expiratory volume is collected in a collapsible bag (4 l capacity) surrounded by a rigid box connected to a spirometer. A system of tubes with two solenoid valves operated by a manual switch allows the collection of air into the bag, during expiration, and its emptying by a vacuum pump during inspiration, respectively. The sampling line of a fast responding O2 and CO2 analyzer, together with temperature and pressure probes are inserted into the tube connecting the bag to the vacuum. The expired volume is therefore recorded (by the spirometer output) during expiration and its composition analyzed during the immediately following inspiratory phase, thus allowing gas exchange measurements to be performed on each single breath. VO2 measured by this method at steady state over periods of about 1 min yields substantially the same values as obtained by standard open circuit method (average ratio = 1.01). Ventilations up to 150 l/min (ATPS) and respiratory rates up to 60/min can be easily followed. The simplicity of VO2 calculation, and the very limited dead space of the system (about 70 ml, downstream the expiratory valve), make this method particularly suitable for determining VO2 kinetics at the onset and offset of exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1980


  • Kinetics of oxygen consumption
  • Metabolic transients
  • On- and off-responses
  • Oxygen uptake
  • Single breath

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology


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