Azzolini Pier Lorenzo
Medico Chirurgo
Spec. in Medicina dello Sport

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Functional Evaluation

The laboratory for the Functional Evaluation of Athletes at the
Sports Medicine Istitute ( IMS ) in Bologna is formed by two sections:
one for diagnosis and rehabilitation,the other for metabolic and cardiorespiratory evaluations.

Some young athletes and none-athletes come to this second section to evaluate their base qualities for a future sporting course,others come because they need training or competition models,and some come to evaluate the settings and the adjustments acquired during training in order to check them and to estimate possible overtraining periods or lack of performance.

The laboratory can,thanks to the latest equipment, perform tests for the direct relief of the most important cardiorespiratory parameters; estimate their relationship to given workloads with polifunctional ergometers;estimate prospective "defaillances "thanks to adeguate ergometric protocols following the indications shown in the most recent ergometric pubblications (CARU Ph.D. and Coll. of the Italian group for functional evaluation), and can also personalize work loads in relationship to the level of physical activity carried out and to anatomical,sex and age characteristics.

The specialists working together with, ISEF instructors,cardiologists and biomechanics can give precise information to the trainer on the physical conditions of the athletes tested,giving them parameters easily testable during training,in order to optimize energetic losses and to improve results.

The tests are always in relation to the question posed and there are too many to list here,but the most frequently used are:the test to estimate the maximal O2 consumption;during this test it is also possible to evaluate the different threshold parameters (2 mmol/lac,4mmol/lac.C.P.).This is a maximal triangular test increasing in power with different time limits ,according to the athlete, his training and sports discipline.

Another typical test tends to reveal the anaerobic or the lactate threshold: the athlete sustains different progressive work loads at constant power for step periods of 5 minutes ( total time longer than 30 minutes ); the lactacidemia is measured until we obtain the load intensity value at which the athlete does not accumulate lactate.

It is also possible to perform other studies such as measuring O2 lack during rectangular efforts;measuring cardiac out-put using Fick's method together with Collier's and Defare's methods,non -invasive procedures even-though complicated and valid only for submaximal efforts. In order to estimate ponderal and energetic imbalances we evaluate the basal energetic loss with the Indirect Colorimetric method.

In the Functional Evaluation section it is also possible to do classic ergometric tests to research arrhythmias ,to estimate the coronaric reserve or to make a simple spirometry. The cardiological section allows ecocardiographic study,late potential evocation, arrhythmological research with Holter and RR variability.

These studies ,often difficult and sophisticated ,are now possible thanks to late generation ergometers and metabolimeters.The IMS lab in Bologna is equipped with cycloergometers which have different possibilities:STS 3 Cardioline with maximal power 400W or Cardio 2 cycle with maximal power 1500w with innovating caracteristics.It is possible to work at constant power in isokinetic conditions and at constant couple ( MONARK type for anaerobic power evaluations,Wingate).

The Treadmill is used for track athletes and marathon runners at a maximal speed of 24km/h and slopes superior to 20%.

The metabolimeters used are the recently acquired MMC HORIZON SENSOR MEDICS and the CARDIO 2 MED-GRAPHICS of recent which can follow, the parameter variations breath by breath.

With rapid Boeringer lactate scanners and with standard De Mori machines it is possible to determine the lactate level also during incremental tests.

R. Senaldi M.D.

universitÓ  degli
 studi di bologna

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