Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing in Atlanta, GA
Why is Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing Necessary?
Cardiopulmonary exercise testing—otherwise known as CPET or CPX—is a highly sensitive, noninvasive stress test. Diseases that affect the heart, lungs and muscles may cause an abnormal response to exercise—such as shortness of breath. CPET is commonly used during the screening process for pulmonary hypertension, a condition that affects the arteries that connect the heart to the lungs on the right side of the heart.
CPET is thought to be more effective than other exercise testing systems because it aids a physician in detecting specific diseases or conditions that affect the heart, lungs or muscles. CPET is an entirely non-invasive and objective method that can be used to diagnose the following conditions:
- Heart failure: Also called congestive heart failure, this condition occurs when the heart is overworked, causing it to stop working.
- Heart disease: This is an umbrella term for any type of disorder that affects the heart. Examples include arrhythmia, dilated cardiomyopathy and myocardial infarction.
- Cardiac valve dysfunction: Otherwise known as heart valve disease, this occurs when one or more of the heart valves aren't functioning properly.
- Pulmonary ventilation disorder: Patients may experience this condition, also called hyperventilation, when the lungs cannot take in enough air to meet the body's needs.
How is Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing Performed?
Cardiopulmonary exercise testing is administered by a trained physician on an outpatient basis — the process itself usually takes 45 minutes to an hour. Unlike traditional stress tests that use treadmills, CPET is performed on a stationary bicycle, which is more comfortable and safer because workload can be increased in small increments.
Before the exercise portion of the CPET begins, patients will be asked to complete two basic lung tests. Results of these tests will be used at the end to compare breathing at rest and during exercise. The physician will then stick small electrodes to the patient's chest that monitor heart rate and rhythm throughout the testing process. During the test, the following pieces of equipment will be used to monitor the body's response to exercise:
- Face mask: Patients breathe through a comfortable face mask that monitors oxygen use, carbon dioxide production and breathing pattern.
- Electrocariogram (EKG): This device records the electrical activity of the heart.
- Blood pressure cuff: Blood pressure is monitored to make sure the heart does not become overworked.
- Pulse oximeter: This device fits over the finger and uses light to measure the percentage of blood cells covered with oxygen.
Once ready, the patient will begin to exercise on a stationary bicycle. Following a short warm-up period, resistance is gradually increased — as if the patient were pedaling up a hill. During this time, patients are expected to give maximum effort. This portion of the CPET continues until the patient can no longer continue. It's important for patients to put forth a good effort during CPET, otherwise the physician will be working with inaccurate information.
After the patient has rested for several minutes, he or she is asked to restart exercise so the doctor can note any changes in the way lungs function. The rest, exercise and recovery portion of CPET lasts for about 15-25 minutes, although patients will only be exercising at high levels for a total of three to four minutes. Results of the CPET are not immediately available, and patients will need to come in for follow-up consultations to discuss the results of their CPET.
Request more information about cardiopulmonary exercise testing today. Call (678) 661-5513 or contact National Healthcare Center online.
National Healthcare Center
Address759 Martin Luther King Jr Dr SW
Atlanta, GA 30314
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm