Cardiopulmonary Exercise Test (CPET)

This leaflet will provide with information about Cardiopulmonary Exercise Test (CPET)

What is Cardiopulmonary Exercise Test (CPET)?

This test is done to evaluate the way in which the heart, lungs and circulation respond to exercise. This test will help find out what is causing shortness of breath.

Where is it done?

This test is usually done at the Cardiopulmonary Exercise lab.

How is it done?

You will walk on a treadmill or ride on a stationary bike. Your health care provider will measure how much oxygen and carbon dioxide your body uses.

What to expect before the test?

  • You may be advice to:
    • Stop eating, drinking, or smoking (for adult patients) at least 2 hours before the test. If you have diabetes, ask what you may eat or drink before the test
    • Talk to your health care provider about all he medicines you take. This includes any prescription, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and other supplements
    • You may need to stop taking certain medicines before the test. Ask your provider if there are any medicines you can keep taking.
    • Tell your health care provider if you are having any of the following conditions: cold, sinusitis, bronchitis, or pneumonia
    • Avoid any kind of exercise the morning before the test
  • Wear light, loose fitting clothing and flat shoes
  • Arrive at the clinic at least 30 minutes before your appointment

What to expect during the test?

  • Your health care provider will explain the test and answer any questions you may have
  • Your health care provider will place Small pads (electrodes) on your upper body to check your heart rate
  • You will wear blood pressure cuff on your arm.
  • Your health care provide will clip the pulse oximeter device to your finger. It will measure the amount of oxygen in your blood
  • You will wear nose clips and breathe through a mouthpiece
  • Before you start to exercise, you may need to do a breathing test (spirometry). This is to measure the amount of air you breathe in (inhale) and breathe out (exhale) while at rest.
  • While you exercise, your health care provide will check your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure.
  • You will need to exercise as long as you can.
  • Once the test is done, keep the mouthpiece in place until you are told to remove it.

What to expect after the test?

You can return to your normal diet, activity, and medicines, unless your healthcare provider tells you otherwise. If you were advised to stop medicines before the test, ask if you should take them after the test.

What are the risks and possible complications?

Like many tests, this test has some risks. The could include the following:

  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Rise or fall in blood pressure
  • Fainting, dizziness, or tiredness
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Heart attack or stroke (rare)

When do I receive the results?

You will be informed about the result before leaving the lab