CPET typically involves the measurement of respiratory gas exchange (oxygen uptake, carbon dioxide output, minute ventilation and other variables) while monitoring the ECG, blood pressure, pulse oximetry and perceived exertion (borg scale) during a maximal symptom – limited incremental exercise testing on cycle ergometer or on a treadmill.
Measurement of arterial blood gases provides more detailed information on pulmonary gas exchange.
Resting and exercise tidal flow - volume loop (part of spirometry lung testing) should also be monitored to accurately assess/understand the degree of ventilator constraint.
CPET provides a global assessment of the integrative responses.
These integrative responses are not adequately reflected by measurement of organ system function at rest. Resting values cannot reliably predict exercise performance and functional capacity.
CPET is safe and comorbidities can be identified, while enhanced understanding and insight into various physiologic responses. CPET promotes an integrative approach to assessing metabolic, ventilatory and cardiac function and body reserve. CPET provides measurement of oxygen peak uptake which remains the gold standard of assessing aerobic exercise capacity.
Theo Trandafirescu MD, FCCP,FACP