Estimating minute ventilation and air pollution inhaled dose using heart rate, breath frequency, age, sex and forced vital capacity: A pooled-data analysis

Roby Greenwald, Matthew J Hayat, Evi Dons, Luisa Giles, Rodrigo Villar, Djordje G Jakovljevic, Nicholas Good

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Air pollution inhaled dose is the product of pollutant concentration and minute ventilation ([Formula: see text]). Previous studies have parameterized the relationship between [Formula: see text] and variables such as heart rate (HR) and have observed substantial inter-subject variability. In this paper, we evaluate a method to estimate [Formula: see text] with easy-to-measure variables in an analysis of pooled-data from eight independent studies. We compiled a large diverse data set that is balanced with respect to age, sex and fitness level. We used linear mixed models to estimate [Formula: see text] with HR, breath frequency (fB), age, sex, height, and forced vital capacity (FVC) as predictors. FVC was estimated using the Global Lung Function Initiative method. We log-transformed the dependent and independent variables to produce a model in the form of a power function and assessed model performance using a ten-fold cross-validation procedure. The best performing model using HR as the only field-measured parameter was [Formula: see text] = e-9.59HR2.39age0.274sex-0.204FVC0.520 with HR in beats per minute, age in years, sex is 1 for males and 2 for females, FVC in liters, and a median(IQR) cross-validated percent error of 0.664(45.4)%. The best performing model overall was [Formula: see text] = e-8.57HR1.72fB0.611age0.298sex-0.206FVC0.614, where fB is breaths per minute, and a median(IQR) percent error of 1.20(37.9)%. The performance of these models is substantially better than any previously-published model when evaluated using this large pooled-data set. We did not observe an independent effect of height on [Formula: see text], nor an effect of race, though this may have been due to insufficient numbers of non-white participants. We did observe an effect of FVC such that these models over- or under-predict [Formula: see text] in persons whose measured FVC was substantially lower or higher than estimated FVC, respectively. Although additional measurements are necessary to confirm this finding regarding FVC, we recommend using measured FVC when possible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0218673
Number of pages18
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© 2019 Greenwald et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Air Pollution/adverse effects
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Environmental Pollutants/toxicity
  • Female
  • Heart Rate/physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory System/drug effects
  • Tidal Volume/drug effects
  • Vital Capacity/drug effects
  • Young Adult


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