Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing (CPET) is a non-invasive investigation used to assess the performance of the heart and lungs at rest and during exercise. It is similar to a standard exercise test, but with some important differences, and gives doctors a lot more information. CPET is used in different areas of medicine, for example:
It is also used in the world of sports physiology, as it gives an objective, accurate measure of someone’s fitness (their peak ‘VO2’). For example, a cyclist might have a test pre-season, then monitor their progress and fitness by repeating it after a period of training.
In fact, many common wearable gadgets available today such Garmin and Apple watches try to estimate what someone’s VO2 is, to help amateur athletes determine their fitness levels. It should be recognised that these devices make a number of mathematical assumptions. Therefore, whilst sometimes not bad, they are certainly not completely accurate.
During the CPET test the person will be required to perform exercise on an upright bicycle whilst breathing through a mouthpiece. Each breath will be measured to assess how the body is performing, by analysing oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. The capacity and strength of the lungs is measured before and during exercise. The heart tracing (ECG) will also be recorded prior to, during and after exercise. The test requires maximum effort to ensure the most reliable diagnostic information is obtained.
Once you have had your assessment, I will personally meet with you in clinic to go through the results. If you have had the CPET to investigate symptoms, we can look at what might need to be done and formulate a treatment plan. I can also advise on what sort of exercise might benefit you from a heart point of view, and what sort should be avoided. If you are an athlete, we can discuss what the results mean for your training.
I was awarded my MD (Res) higher research degree from University College London in 2014. I used CPET to study patients with inherited heart disease to try and understand more about their symptoms.
From winter 2018 CPET will be available at the Nuffield Hospital Bournemouth. If you are interested in an assessment, contact me for a consultation on email@example.com or book direct here or call 01202 084550.
Leaving London for Dorset was not only a wise career move, it also gave me far more opportunity for my other great passion, sport. Swapping the dangerous cycle to work through central London for treks around the New Forest and the Purbecks was a great start, adding membership at Parkstone Golf Club and the move was a complete no-brainer! The only downside? Giving up my season ticket at the Emirites to watch Arsenal!
Coastal Cardiology is a proud business partner of the West Hants Tennis Club, the premier health and fitness club in Dorset. This association came about rather by chance however: I tore ankle ligaments during a game of squash, and was fortunate enough to have Christine Hopley of BWT at West Hants physiotherapy treat me afterwards. As well as fixing my ankle, she introduced me to the management team. I now work with the physiotherapists, personal trainers and nutrition team, providing individualised cardiac assessments and advice for clients. For example, some types of exercise should be modified or avoided if you have a heart condition.