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Cardiopulmonary Exercise Test (CPET) and Exercise Challenge Test.
Respiratory and Sleep Physiology
An exercise breathing test is used to measure the fitness of your heart and lungs. This information is needed to help plan your treatment.
The test is usually done by two Respiratory Physiologists who are specialists in breathing. The Physiologists will explain the procedure to you before and during the test.
Depending on the type of exercise test, you may be fitted with a mask, finger monitor, heart monitor (chest stickers) and arm cuff in order to measure your breathing and heart function during the test. Alternatively, you may be asked to blow into a small device whilst you are exercising.
First we take some measurements while you are resting. You will then be asked to walk on a treadmill, or pedal a bicycle, and slowly increase the intensity. This may be an increase in speed, incline (slope), or resistance (how hard you have to work to move). You will be asked to exercise until you are told to stop or until you are unable to continue. It is important to exercise for as long as you can to get the most accurate results. We will then take some more measurements as you rest after the exercise.
Although the exercise will only last around 10 minutes, please allow up to 60 minutes for the appointment in total.
Your test will be analysed and reported on by one of the Physiologists. These results will then be sent to your referring Doctor.
If you are unable to attend the appointment that has been arranged for you, please contact the department on 01709 421780 as soon as possible so that we can organise another appointment for you, and offer your appointment time to another patient on our waiting list.
You can choose whether or not to have the tests, but if you do choose not to complete them, important information may be missed which may impact on receiving an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
As you will be exercising to your maximum level, it is possible that the test may cause some muscle discomfort (usually in your legs), shortness of breath, dizziness or nausea. If you have any of these symptoms, they usually start to get better soon after you have finished exercising. You may have muscle tiredness or soreness for a day or so after the test. Gentle exercise, such as a short walk, and drinking plenty of water after the test can help with muscle soreness.
Exercise tests are quite safe procedures, and the risk of side effects is the same as doing mild exercise. The number of patients that have complications during the test is low, but the test does carry a risk. Your breathing, heart rate and rhythm will be monitored closely during and after exercise. The test is often supervised by a Respiratory Consultant or Consultant Anaesthetist. Possible complications are listed on the next page. These have been worked out from studies on patients who have had this test.
Something happening which means you would have to go to hospital, such as an unusual blood pressure measurement or a change in your heart rhythm.
Having a major cardiac event, such as a heart attack or stroke.
Death - although very rare, some complications can be serious and even cause death (2-5 in 100,000 tests).
For most people, the benefit of having the test, outweighs the risk. If you have any specific concerns about your own risk performing this test, please contact the department on 01709421780 or discuss them with your Physiologist/Consultant before the test.
Respiratory & Sleep Physiology
Badsley Moor Lane
Telephone 01709 421780
Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm
Rotherham Hospital Switchboard
Telephone 01709 820000