Effect of oxygen therapy on exercise performance in patients with cyanotic congenital heart disease: Randomized-controlled trial
Patients with unrepaired cyanotic congenital heart disease (CHD) suffer from aggravated hypoxemia during exercise. We tested the hypothesis that supplemental oxygen improves exercise performance in these patients. Methods: In this randomized, sham-controlled, single-blind, cross-over trial cyanotic CHD-patients underwent four cycle exercise tests to exhaustion, while breathing either oxygen-enriched (FiO2 0.50, oxygen) or ambient air (FiO2 0.21, air) using incremental (IET) or constant
... (CWRET) exercise test protocols (75% of maximal work rate achieved under FiO2 0.21). Pulmonary gas-exchange, electrocardiogram, arterial blood gases, oxygen saturation (SpO2), cerebral and quadriceps muscle tissue oxygenation (CTO and QMTO) by near-infrared spectroscopy were measured. Results: We included seven patients with cyanotic CHD (4 Eisenmenger syndrome, 3 unrepaired cyanotic defects, 4 women) median (quartiles) age 36 (32;50) years, BMI 23 (20;26) kg/m2 and SpO2 at rest 87 (83;89) %. When comparing supplemental oxygen with air during exercise, maximal work-rate in IET increased from 76 (58;114) Watts to 83 (67;136) Watts, median difference 9 (0;22) W (p = 0.046) and CWRET-time increased from 412 s (325;490) to 468 s (415;553), median increase 56 (39;126) s (p = 0.018). In both IET and CWRET SpO2 was significantly higher and ventilatory equivalent for carbon dioxide significantly lower at end-exercise with oxygen compared to air, whereas CTO and QMTO did not significantly differ. Conclusions: Patients with cyanotic CHD significantly improved their exercise performance, in terms of maximal work-rate and endurance time along with an improved arterial oxygenation and ventilatory efficiency with supplemental oxygen compared to air.