Reference Values for Peak Exercise Cardiac Output in Healthy Individuals

Piergiuseppe Agostoni, Carlo Vignati, Piero Gentile, Costanza Boiti, Stefania Farina, Elisabetta Salvioni, Massimo Mapelli, Damiano Magrì, Stefania Paolillo, Nicoletta Corrieri, Gianfranco Sinagra, Gaia Cattadori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background Cardiac output (Q˙) is a key parameter in the assessment of cardiac function, its measurement being crucial for the diagnosis, treatment, and prognostic evaluation of all heart diseases. Until recently, Q˙ determination at peak exercise has been possible through invasive methods, so that normal values were obtained in studies based on small populations. Methods Nowadays, peak Q˙ can be measured noninvasively by means of the inert gas rebreathing (IGR) technique. The present study was undertaken to provide reference values for peak Q˙ in the normal general population and to obtain a formula able to estimate peak exercise Q˙ from measured peak oxygen uptake (V˙O2). Results We studied 500 normal subjects (age, 44.9 ± 1.5 years; range, 18-77 years; 260 men, 240 women) who underwent a maximal cardiopulmonary exercise test with peak Q˙ measurement by IGR. In the overall study sample, peak Q˙ was 13.2 ± 3.5 L/min (men, 15.3 ± 3.3 L/min; women, 11.0 ± 2.0 L/min; P < .001) and peak V˙O2 was 95% ± 18% of the maximum predicted value (men, 95% ± 19%; women, 95% ± 18%). Peak V˙O2 and peak Q˙ progressively decreased with age (R2, 0.082; P < .001; and R2, 0.144; P < .001, respectively). The V˙O2-derived formula to measure Q˙ at peak exercise was (4.4 × peak V˙O2) + 4.3 in the overall study cohort, (4.3 × peak V˙O2) + 4.5 in men, and (4.9 × peak V˙O2) + 3.6 in women. Conclusions The simultaneous measurement of Q˙ and V˙O2 at peak exercise in a large sample of healthy subjects provided an equation to predict peak Q˙ from peak V˙O2 values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1329-1337
Number of pages9
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2017


  • cardiac output
  • exercise
  • oxygen consumption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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    Agostoni, P., Vignati, C., Gentile, P., Boiti, C., Farina, S., Salvioni, E., Mapelli, M., Magrì, D., Paolillo, S., Corrieri, N., Sinagra, G., & Cattadori, G. (2017). Reference Values for Peak Exercise Cardiac Output in Healthy Individuals. Chest, 151(6), 1329-1337.