The effect of wearing a surgical mask during maximal exercise test on cardiopulmonary exercise test parameters

Yakal S., Taşdemir E. N. , Dinçer Ş., Devran S., Şahinkaya T., Erelel M., ...More

36th WORLD CONGRESS OF SPORTS MEDICINE, Atina, Greece, 23 - 26 September 2021, vol.74, no.102, pp.65

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • Volume: 74
  • City: Atina
  • Country: Greece
  • Page Numbers: pp.65
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


BACKGROUND: Wearing face mask is recommended for prevent the spread of Covid-19 infection. The effect of surgical mask on cardiopulmonary exercise capacity is unclear. METHODS: This prospective study quantitated the effects of wearing no mask (nm), a surgical mask (sm) in 30 healthy adults (age 23.1±3.5 years, BMI 22.46±2.72 kg/m2). Participants completed two (with and without a surgical face mask) maximal cardiopulmonary exercise tests (CPETs) on a treadmill following the Bruce protocol. Heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation were measured. RESULTS: Data showed that wearing a surgical face mask led to a significant reduction in maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max) (nm 42.07±8.84, sm 38.03±6.68 (P<0.001)), minute ventilation (nm 101.41±29.84, sm 83.27±19.93, (P<0.001)). Exercising with a surgical mask was associated with a significant increase in end-tidal carbon dioxide (PEtCO2) levels (nm 39.07±4.60, sm 42.31±5.15 (P<0.001)). Wearing face masks had no effect on exercise time, blood pressure, maximal heart rate and oxygen saturation. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate that maximal aerobic exercise can be safely performed by healthy individuals with a surgical mask. Nonetheless, cardiopulmonary exercise capacity and ventilation are reduced by surgical masks. These data are important for recommendations on wearing face masks during physical exercise.