URMC Cardiology

VO2 Max Study

What's it for

The more aerobically fit you are, the greater your body’s capacity to transport and use oxygen.

A middle-aged person who does not exercise may have a VO2 max of 20-40 ml/kg/min. On the other hand, an elite athlete who competes in endurance events like the Tour de France may have a VO2 Max of 80 or higher.

A VO2 max study can help an athlete to design a more effective exercise program. It can also be used to determine whether certain symptoms are being caused by problems with the heart or with the lungs.

An evaluation of VO2 max is important when evaluating patients with heart failure: the better their exercise performance, the milder the heart disease.

How it's done

A VO2 max study is performed while you exercise on a treadmill or stationary bicycle. An exercise physiologist fits you with a breathing mask that is hooked up to a computer. This mask measures how much oxygen you inhale and exhale. Your heart rate will also be monitored.

You begin exercising at a slow pace. The exercise physiologist gradually increases the intensity of the exercise until you come close to the maximum of your ability. You then perform a cool down for several minutes.

At the end of the test, you are given a number for your VO2 max. Your VO2 max can then be used to develop exercise recommendations that are appropriate for your level of fitness. The VO2 max can also indicate the severity of heart failure in patients.

Who to contact

If you are interested in having a VO2 max study, please contact URMC Cardiology at (585) 275-2475.

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