A cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) is an evaluation of the cardiopulmonary system.
Physical exercise requires the interaction of the physiologic mechanisms that enable the cardiovascular and respiratory systems to support the energy demands of the contracting muscles. Both systems are consequently stressed during exercise. Their ability to respond adequately to this stress is a measure of their physiologic competence.
Studies are performed under the direction of the cardiology and pulmonary divisions
Emphasis of testing may be influenced by the requesting division
Cardiac patients have more detailed electrocardiogram (ECG)/hemodynamic monitoring during testing
Pulmonary patient studies may include bronchial provocation with exercise testing
Selection of modality and protocol are dependent upon the requesting physician, level of fitness and health, weight, age, and patient preference
Wassserman, Karlman: Principles of Exercise Testing and Interpretation. Lea & Febinger Co 1994
Reasons someone may be tested
Detection of suspected cardiopulmonary disease and/or severity of disease.
Cardiac rhythm/rate evaluation
Blood pressure response
Asses status/treatment, i.e. need for supplemental O2
Detection of exercise induced asthma (EIA)
Assessing physical fitness
Endurance strength versus anaerobic threshold
Charting course of progressive disease or evaluating treatment
Assessing success of rehabilitation program/surgical conditions