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.