Validation of the COSMED K4 b2 portable metabolic system

J. E. McLaughlin, G. A. King, E. T. Howley, D. R. Bassett, B. E. Ainsworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

446 Scopus citations


The purpose of this investigation was to assess the accuracy of the COSMED K4 b2 portable metabolic measurement system against the criterion Douglas bag (DB) method. During cycle ergometry on consecutive days, oxygen consumption (V̇O2), carbon dioxide production (V̇CO2), minute ventilation (VE), and respiratory exchange ratio (R) were measured at rest and during power outputs of 50, 100, 150, 200, and 250W. No significant differences (P>0.05) were observed in V̇O2 between the K4 b2 and DB at rest and at 250W. Though the K4 b2 values were significantly higher (P<0.05) than DB values at 50, 100, 150, and 200W, the magnitude of these differences was small (0.088, 0.092, 0.096, and 0.088 L×min-1, respectively). V̇CO2 and V̇E values from the K4 b2 were significantly lower than the DB at 200 and 250W, while no significant differences were observed from rest through 150W. The slight overestimation of V̇O2 (50-200W) combined with the underestimation of V̇CO2 (200 and 250W) by the K4 b2 resulted in significantly lower R values at every stage. These findings suggest the COSMED K4 b2 portable metabolic measurement system is acceptable for measuring oxygen uptake over a fairly wide range of exercise intensities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-284
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 6 2001


  • Assessment
  • Exercise
  • Indirect calorimetry
  • Oxygen consumption
  • Portable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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