Cardiopulmonary exercise testing is an important clinical tool to evaluate exercise capacity and predict outcomes in patients with heart failure and other cardiac conditions.
A Cardiopulmonary Exercise Test (CPExT) is performed to evaluate dyspnea or exercise intolerance. Other tests include exercise-induced bronchoconstriction and six-minute walk tests.
The CPExT is a unique investigation that provides clinical information about a patient’s functional capacity and dyspnea which cannot be obtained from any other test.
Using an incremental, symptom-limited protocol, patients are exercised to their maximal capacity on a cycle ergometer, to duplicate the symptoms that limit their exercise. During the test, EKG, blood pressure and oxygen saturation is monitored and composition of inhaled and exhaled gases are measured and analyzed to estimate gas exchange, oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide output and ventilatory efficiency. This enables identification of whether the limiting factor is heart disease, lung disease, obesity or deconditioning.
Patients with exercise intolerance or dyspnea which remains unexplained after resting pulmonary function testing, cardiac stress testing, and echocardiography are ideal candidates for CPExT.
Indications for CPExT
Other indications for a CPExT include:
- Pre-operative pulmonary evaluation prior to lung resection surgery, lung volume reduction surgery for emphysema and other major surgeries
- Evaluation for impairment/disability
- Exercise prescription for pulmonary rehabilitation
- Evaluation for heart-lung transplants
- Exercise prescription for training regimen for athletes
Pictured left to right: Debapriya Datta, M.D., FCCP, director, CPExT Program; Nicolas Giannetti, R.R.T.; Nancy McLellan, R.R.T., CPFT; and Terri Seelig, R.R.T., RPFT, seated. Missing from photo: Christine Nodine, R.R.T.