Peak oxygen uptake in Paralympic sitting sports: A systematic literature review, meta- and pooled-data analysis
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Background Peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) in Paralympic sitting sports athletes represents their maximal ability to deliver energy aerobically in an upper-body mode, with values being influenced by sex, disability-related physiological limitations, sport-specific demands, training status and how they are tested. Objectives To identify VO2peak values in Paralympic sitting sports, examine between-sports differences and within-sports variations in VO2peak and determine the influence of sex, age, body-mass, disability and test-mode on VO2peak. Design Systematic literature review and meta-analysis. Data sources PubMed, CINAHL, SPORTDiscusTM and EMBASE were systematically searched in October 2016 using relevant medical subject headings, keywords and a Boolean. Eligibility criteria Studies that assessed VO2peak values in sitting sports athletes with a disability in a laboratory setting were included. Data synthesis Data was extracted and pooled in the different sports disciplines, weighted by the Dersimonian and Laird random effects approach. Quality of the included studies was assessed with a modified version of the Downs and Black checklist by two independent reviewers. Meta-regression and pooled-data multiple regression analyses were performed to assess the influence of sex, age, body-mass, disability, test mode and study quality on VO2peak. Results Of 6542 retrieved articles, 57 studies reporting VO2peak values in 14 different sitting sports were included in this review. VO2peak values from 771 athletes were used in the data analysis, of which 30% participated in wheelchair basketball, 27% in wheelchair racing, 15% in wheelchair rugby and the remaining 28% in the 11 other disciplines. Fifty-six percent of the athletes had a spinal cord injury and 87% were men. Sports-discipline-averaged VO2peak values ranged from 2.9 L∙min-1 and 45.6 mL∙kg-1∙min-1 in Nordic sit skiing to 1.4 L∙min-1 and 17.3 mL∙kg-1∙min-1 in shooting and 1.3 L∙min-1 and 18.9 mL∙kg-1∙min-1 in wheelchair rugby. Large within-sports variation was found in sports with few included studies and corresponding low sample sizes. The meta-regression and pooled-data multiple regression analyses showed that being a man, having an amputation, not being tetraplegic, testing in a wheelchair ergometer and treadmill mode, were found to be favorable for high absolute and body-mass normalized VO2peak values. Furthermore, high body mass was favourable for high absolute VO2peak values and low body mass for high body-mass normalized VO2peak values. Conclusion The highest VO2peak values were found in Nordic sit skiing, an endurance sport with continuously high physical efforts, and the lowest values in shooting, a sport with low levels of displacement, and in wheelchair rugby where mainly athletes with tetraplegia compete. However, VO2peak values need to be interpreted carefully in sports-disciplines with few included studies and large within-sports variation. Future studies should include detailed information on training status, sex, age, test mode, as well as the type and extent of disability in order to more precisely evaluate the effect of these factors on VO2peak.