Cardiopulmonary exercise test

23 May 2021 / 3:23 pm

What is it ?

A cardiopulmonary exercise test is an assessment of your heart, lungs and general fitness. It is of particular benefit in assessing patients who are short-of-breath. It is useful for assessing a your fitness and measuring fitness response to an exercise programme.


How is it performed ?

The procedure is performed with a clinical physiologist and there is often a doctor present. Small sticky pads (electrodes) are placed on your chest and connected up to the exercise machine to provide a continuous ECG. A blood pressure cuff will measure your blood pressure every few minutes. A breathing tube is inserted into the mouth or a mask is attached over your nose and mouth to measure the amount of oxygen the body needs. You will be asked to walk slowly on a moving belt or pedal on an exercise bike that gently speeds up every few minutes. Please bring comfortable shoes and wear loose fitting clothes if possible.

How long does it take ?

In total the test takes about 30 minutes. It is unusual for the exercise test to last longer than 12 minutes. You can stop the test at any time.

Are there any risks ?

Reported risks of an exercise tolerance include heart attack and rhythm disturbance but these are very rare.

What happens next ?

Once you have completed the test the cardiopulmonary test will be analysed and a report generated, usually within 7 days. If required you may be able to have a shower after the test.

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