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Article
May 22, 1987

The Effects of Red Blood Cell Infusion on 10-km Race Time

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (Dr Brien), Pathology (Dr Simon), and Medicine (Dr Simon), University of New Mexico, and United Blood Services, Albuquerque. Dr Brien is now with the Bahrain Sports Institute, Manama, State of Bahrain.

From the Departments of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (Dr Brien), Pathology (Dr Simon), and Medicine (Dr Simon), University of New Mexico, and United Blood Services, Albuquerque. Dr Brien is now with the Bahrain Sports Institute, Manama, State of Bahrain.

JAMA. 1987;257(20):2761-2765. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390200101022
Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of infusion of 400 mL of red blood cells (RBCs) on 10-km track race time, submaximal heart rate, hematocrit, 2,3-diphosphoglycerate, and partial pressure of oxygen at 50% hemoglobin saturation. Six highly trained, male, distance runners twice donated a unit of RBCs, which was frozen for subsequent reinfusion. Eleven weeks after the second donation, they undertook a series of three competitive 10-km races on a standard 400-m track: before infusion, after 100 mL of saline solution, and after 400 mL of autologous, previously frozen deglycerolized RBCs. All subjects took all trials in this double-blind, placebo, crossover, experimental design. Running time was recorded at each 400-m split, and blood was collected prior to each trial. The data were analyzed by analysis of variance. Results following the RBC infusion showed a significantly higher hematocrit concentration, a significantly faster 10-km run, a nonsignificant decrease in submaximal heart rate (10 beats per minute), and no significant changes in either 2,3-diphosphoglycerate or partial pressure of oxygen at 50% hemoglobin saturation. Erythrocythemia induced by the infusion of 400 mL of autologous packed RBCs effectively increased performance capacity in a 10-km track race, probably due to an increase in oxygen delivery to the working muscles.

(JAMA 1987;257:2761-2765)

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