What is cardiopulmonary exercise (CPET) testing?
Cardiopulmonary exercise testing is an investigation that provides complex information about the maximum level of effort of the person undergoing the testing. With the help of the obtained data it is possible to completely analyze both the cardiovascular, the respiratory and the muscular capacity of the patient during the effort.
At Emerald Medical Center we perform cardiopulmonary testing on cardiac patients who must undergo a medical recovery program in order to determine the intensity of the exercise so that they are effective and performed safely.
What does cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) involve?
The first step is to measure blood pressure, then perform an electrocardiogram at rest and a spirometry. After performing them, we move on to the actual exercise test, on the treadmill. The effort will be submaximal for this procedure, meaning that its intensity will increase from mild to moderate to allow the investigation of patients with reduced physical condition or the elderly.
Cardiopulmonary exercise testing is performed using a mask that covers the patient’s nose and mouth so that the breathed air is guided by a volume sensor that receives all the physical aspects of breathing.
The role of the cardiopulmonary exercise test is to determine and analyze the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the patient’s respiratory flow.
When is cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) recommended?
- to establish the etiology of dyspnoea or exercise intolerance (due to cardiovascular, pulmonary or muscular pathologies) that limits the patient’s ability to exercise;
- in the case of an electrocardiogram difficult to interpret, by analyzing gas exchanges to confirm or exclude the presence of myocardial ischemia on exertion;
- to determine the severity and prognosis in heart failure;
- before including the patient in a cardiovascular recovery program, in order to obtain the parameters of the optimal physical training; The increase of the exercise capacity can be objectively highlighted by performing the cardiopulmonary exercise test;
- in patients with a pacemaker implant, to determine the effectiveness of drug treatment and to evaluate functional improvement;
- before major cardiac surgery, to obtain more information about the patient’s cardiovascular and pulmonary reserve;
The diagnosis obtained after cardiopulmonary exercise testing is useful not only to the cardiologist who treats the patient but also to the nutritionist and recovery and rehabilitation specialist who are part of the team that treats the patient with cardiovascular disease. More information about cardiovascular rehabilitation here.
Article written by Dr. Maria Florescu – Primary Care Cardiologist
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