Special Forces: Physiological Description & Ergogenic Influence of Blood Reinfusion

English: United States Army Special Forces sho...
US Army Special Forces shoulder sleeve insignia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Research Paper Title

Elite Special Forces: Physiological Description and Ergogenic Influence of Blood Reinfusion.


The researchers measured the physical exercise capabilities of US Army Special Forces soldiers (male) and determined the subsequent ergogenic influence of autologous blood reinfusion.


Twelve subjects (Ss) completed maximal exercise treadmill testing in a comfortable (Ta = 20 degrees C, Tdp = 9 degrees C) environment. Six Ss were later transfused with a 600 ml autologous red blood cell (50% Hct) NaCl glucose-phosphate solution and completed identical maximal exercise tests 3 and 10 d posttransfusion.


Pretransfusion, the 12 Ss had a maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) of 4.36 +/- 0.56 L . min-1 and 55 +/- 4 ml . kg-1 . min-1 with a heart rate of 188 +/- 10 b . min-1 and ventilatory equivalent for oxygen of 37 +/- 3. For the 6 reinfused Ss, hemoglobin and red cell volume (RCV) increased by 10% (p less than 0.05) and 11% (p less than 0.05), respectively, posttransfusion. Reinfusion increased (p less than 0.05) VO2max from 4.28 +/- 0.22 L . min-1 (54 +/- 5 ml . kg-1 . min-1) to 4.75 +/- 0.42 L . min-1 (60 +/- 6 ml . kg-1 . min-1) and 4.63 +/- 0.21 L . min-1 (59 +/- 6 ml . kg-1 . min-1) at 3 and 10 d posttransfusion, respectively.

No significant relationship was found between the individual change in RCV and VO2max values pre- to posttransfusion.


We conclude that Special Forces soldiers have high levels of aerobic fitness that can be further increased by blood reinfusion for at least 10 d.

Source: Muza, S.R., Sawka, M.N., Young, A.J., Dennis, R.C., Gonzalez, R.R., Martin, J.W., Pandolf, K.B. & Valeri, C.R. (1987) Elite Special Forces: Physiological Description and Ergogenic Influence of Blood Reinfusion. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine. 58(10), pp.1001-1004.


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