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Why Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing Is Important

With regard to exercise prescription, cardiopulmonary exercise testing i.e. CPET is a gold standard. CPT is a form of stress test that is non-invasive and allows health practitioners to assess how well the lungs, muscles, and heart work both individually and together. Oftentimes, diseases or conditions that affect the muscles, lungs or heart lead to chest pain, shortness of breath and exercise intolerance. Through CPET, the entire cardiopulmonary system gets assessed during exercise by gauging the quantity of oxygen used by the patient’s body and the quantity of carbon dioxide produced as well. It also monitors the electrical activity of the patient’s heart and breathing patterns as the patients go through various exercises e.g. riding stationary bicycles.

Traditionally, treadmills stress patients using ECG. The treadmill stress test is typically known for detecting large vessel diseases while CPET is capable of detecting both small and large coronary microvascular disease is i.e. MVD. Coronary MVD also is known as small vessel disease is among the most attributable courses of heart disease among women. By relying on CPET, health practitioners can accurately pinpoint where the problem originates from i.e. the muscles, lungs or heart and identify lots of other conditions in the process. By solely relying on popular diagnostic tools used by cardiologists such as a nuclear camera or SPECT, and treadmill stress tests, it is usually next to impossible to detect coronary MVD. CPET on the other hand, especially when coupled with mathematical formulas and algorithms has very promising success rates of identifying coronary MVD.

Reliance on CPET has great potential to improve patient care. Even though the majority of physical exams incorporate checks of the heart at rest using an ECG, the results obtained are often limited to what is visible during the moment of the actual exam. This is without mentioning their obvious limitation inability to detect dysfunction or disease. Through CPET tests, it is possible for health practitioners to achieve more comprehensive and accurate overviews of the overall health condition of their patients.

It comes as no surprise that diagnostic assessments are also better using CPET. Through CPET testing, health practitioners are provided with both comprehensive and precise information. This has a significant impact on their decision-making ability on the next steps of care needed since they are able to make the decisions both quickly and accurately. Through this testing, patients that generally require referral to specialists for further evaluation can be identified. It can also help identify patients whose prime medical complaint is brought about by the conditioning rather than pulmonary or cardiac limitations.

CPET testing is also very convenient on the patient’s side. Due to the flexible nature of this method of testing, it is possible for physicians to go to the patients themselves. Naturally, patients will be more comfortable and compliant when they get tested at familiar settings e.g. their homes and offices. There are also less likely to become anxious when the test comes to them. This contributes to reduced waiting time for tests to be conducted and results to be received.

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