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1. Introduction
2. What is blood doping?
3. How does it work?
4. Respiratory physiology
5. The physiology of endurance sports
6. Ventilation during endurance sports
7. Cardiac output during endurance sports
8. Aerobic metabolism during endurance sports
9. Conclusion - blood doping kills
10. References

The next component of the oxygen delivery system fulfills the role of cardiac output and blood volume. Following EPO abuse, the increase in haematocrit and blood viscosity will put increased strain on cardiac function. During maximal exercise, the saturation of haemoglobin with oxygen is very high in percentage terms, so the most effective method of increasing oxygen to the tissues in normal conditions is to increase stroke volume.

There is a strong correlation between cardiac output and VO2max (Saltin, 1969). This pheneomenom doesn't take place in isolation and is closely associated with changes in peripheral blood flow. If it did take place in isolation, cardiac output would have to increase 20 fold to sustain the VO2max of top endurance athletes. In addition to this increase there is an increase in the arterial - venous O2 difference which increases the amount of O2 extracted from the blood during exercise. The maximal arterial - venous O2 difference that can be achieved during exercise - is influenced by the body's capacity to divert a large proportion of blood to the working muscles.

Certain tissues can temporarily compromise their blood supply by shunting. This redirection can be facilitated by training (Musch, 1987). Lash et al (1995) demonstrated enhancements in the microcirculation of skeletal muscle due to training. By increasing haemoglobin via EPO abuse, the drive of cardiac output can be decreased and may lead to decreased cardiac output. This would decrease blood flow and lead to a decrease in peripheral oxygen, and actually decrease aerobic capacity.

Aerobic metabolism during endurance sports >

Article published: 10th June 2003