Validation of an indirect calorimeter using n-of-1 methodology

David C. Frankenfield, Christine M. Ashcraft, Carola Wood, Vernon M. Chinchilli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Validation data for currently available indirect calorimeters is limited. The purpose of this investigation was to validate a newer indirect calorimeter system (Vmax Encore) against a criterion device (Deltatrac Metabolic Monitor) in spontaneously breathing mode. Materials and methods: An n-of-1 methodology was used in which both indirect calorimeters were employed in the same subject repeatedly until 15 measurement pairs were generated for oxygen consumption (VO2), carbon dioxide production (VCO2), resting metabolic rate (RMR), and respiratory quotient (RQ). Bias was defined as a 95% confidence interval of differences between devices that excluded zero. A set of intradevice measurement pairs was also obtained to analyze the precision of the Vmax and Deltatrac (precision defined as not more than 5% of measurements being ≥5% different). Results: Both Vmax and Deltatrac precisely measured VO2 and RMR. The largest intradevice difference for RMR in the Deltatrac was 4.7% (one of 20 pairs) and in the Vmax 4.8%. On the other hand, VCO2 and RQ were not measured precisely by either device, with 10% or more of the measurement pairs differing by ≥ 5%. The Vmax was biased toward low measurement of VO2 and RMR relative to the Deltatrac. Oxygen consumption was on average 4.5 ± 2.4% lower for the Vmax device compared to Deltatrac while RMR was lower by an average of 4.1 ± 2.2%. Conclusions: The Vmax Encore indirect calorimeter is a precise instrument for measuring VO2 and RMR in spontaneously breathing individuals, but it is biased toward lower values compared to the Deltatrac.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-168
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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