Results of investigations using various lung volumes for hydrostatic weighing determinations (HWD) appear to be inconclusive. Often, these lung volumes are predicted and not clinically determined. For this reason, total lung capacity (TLC), a measured residual volume (RV), and a predicted residual volume (PRV) were used during HWDs to compare the techniques. Twenty-five older men, 56 to 70 years (means +/- 62.1 + 4.2 years) performed HWDs at RV (10 trials) and at TLC (3-5 trials). Values for body density and fat free mass were not significantly different between RV and TLC; both values were, however, significantly different from those derived using PRV. There were statistically significant differences (p less than 0.05) between all 3 per cent body fat values but the 1.1 per cent difference between TLC and RV may not be physiologically important. It was concluded that TLC and RV may be used comparably during HWDs, but a PRV may produce significantly different values. Since HWD at TLC is easily performed and circumvents the difficulties associated with the RV technique, it may be the preferred method for older subjects.
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