The GB Rowing Team claims the Siemens Rapidpoint Blood Gas Analyser played an important part in its achievement of 14 medals at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia.
As the GB rowing team's High Performance Partner, Siemens develops ways to assist the team's training and the performance of its male, female and adaptive crews.
It provided the GB Rowing Team with the blood gas analyser so that the team could gain valuable performance data by monitoring athletes' adaptation to high-intensity training.
The Blood Gas Analyser measures blood pH (an indication of muscle acidity) and bicarbonate (the body's acid buffer) from small blood samples.
During the build-up to the racing season, it enables observation of increases in resting bicarbonate.
This provides valuable information about the rowing athletes' anaerobic system and its contribution to race performance.
Blood gas testing is used to evaluate oxygenation.
For example, if a rower is displaying symptoms of an acid/base imbalance, difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath, a blood gas test may determine respiratory difficulties.
Changes in resting bicarbonate levels over time give an indication of anaerobic adaptation; for example, increased bicarbonate levels demonstrate an increased ability to buffer acidic muscular conditions at high intensities.
This information has helped the team to understand the differences between rowers; areas for improvement; and the importance of this area of physiology to rowing performance in general.
The information gathered has allowed the team to track how individuals are adapting to high-intensity training towards the climax of the racing season.
The testing involved with the Rapidpoint is painless and non-invasive.
Designed to be a small, low-maintenance and easy-to-use system, Rapidpoint is a good fit for hospital critical care environments, in addition to a variety of other testing environments, including sport.
A Rapidpoint Blood Gas Analyser features in a new display in the Science Museum in London's Antenna contemporary science gallery.
The display, called 'Can this kit help create a champion?' includes a piece of GB Rowing kit and an interactive exhibit featuring interviews with scientists and the GB Rowing team.
Visitors can also learn more about the technology and meet the GB Rowing team in person at a special three-day event being staged at the Science Museum from 25-27 October 2011.