Cardio Pulmonary Exercise Testing (CPET)

20th August 2018

What is it?
What can it tell you that you don’t get from lung function?
What information does it give?

Find out more by reading this article

We are looking to start CPET with our Cystic Fibrosis patient’s.

What is it?

It involves an exercise test on a bike in our respiratory Physiology department at Heartlands Hospital.

CPET testing is considered to be the gold-standard exercise test for assessing an individuals aerobic capacity and where possible testing is recommended by the CF Trust’s Standards of Care and Good Clinical Practice (April 2017).

What can it tell you that you don’t get from lung function?

Although Spirometry/Lung Function testing is useful it can sometimes fail to recognise other factors that can affect quality of life. There is not always a great correlation between lung function tests and exercise tests as they look at different aspects of Cystic Fibrosis and therefore exercise testing  can give us extremely useful additional information.

For example a study looking at comparisons between CF genotypes found no difference in lung function but did find differences in exercise capacity.

What information does it give?

One of the main pieces of information gathered from CPET is the VO2 max. This is the maximum or optimum rate at which the heart, lungs, and muscles can effectively use oxygen during exercise,

Why is that useful?

Once you know your VO2 max it can help tailor an exercise programme to meet your individual needs. It can advise you on what your body is physiologically capable of, like your maximum HR and what sort of speed you should go at to improve your fitness.

Even the test itself, because it is carried out in a safe, hospital environment can help you to realise that your body is capable of exercise to a higher level than you realise.


If you are keen to get more active, looking to assess your current level of fitness or just curious to know more, then please get in contact with one of the Physiotherapy team on the ward or in clinic.