Marek, E. M., Franke, J., Hinrichs, T., Hawener, I., & Platen, P. (June 03, 2010). Alterations in VO2max by blood donation and re-infusion after a 4-week storage period in moderately trained athletes. Presentation 2111 at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland; June 2-5.

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This study investigated the effect of blood donation and autologous blood re-infusion in a heterogeneous group of moderately trained athletes (M = 8; F = 5) from different disciplines after four weeks of blood storage. Ss were tested during an incremental treadmill-test until individual exhaustion several times prior to and after a blood donation of 500 ml, and prior to and after the re-infusion of the red-blood cell concentrate of 300 ml after a four weeks of storage. The highest measured oxygen uptake value of each test was defined as the respective VO2max.

In the subgroup of females, VO2max prior to blood donation was ~47.6 ml/kg/min. Immediately after the blood donation, VO2max declined to ~44.3 ml/kg/min and remained reduced up to 28 days. Re-infusion led to a significant increase in VO2max, which remained elevated up to seven days, but did not exceed the pre-donation value. In the subgroup of males, VO2max decreased from ~60.3 to ~56.1 ml/kg/min immediately after donation. This decline remained stable after 24 hours and after seven days. Re-infusion induced an immediate and significant increase in VO2max by ~3.5 ml/kg/min, which was comparable to the previously observed decline of 4.1 ml/kg/min after blood donation. This re-infusion increase in VO2max remained stable for up to three weeks.

Implication. 500 ml of blood donation decreased VO2max in both genders with a more prolonged effect in female moderately trained athletes. Re-infusion of the 300 ml red blood cell concentrate after four weeks of storage normalized aerobic performance, but did not induce a higher performance level. Reinfusion simply restored the blood to the pre-donation values.

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