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Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing (CPET)

What is Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing (“CPET”)?

A CPET is an exercise test that evaluates the cardiopulmonary system. It is a type of stress test.

How is the Test Done?

The individual will exercise on a stationary bike with progressively increasing difficulty. Sometimes, the exercise will be on a treadmill. While exercising, the evaluator will monitor a number of things.

They will place a monitor to observe your heart rate, a blood pressure cuff on the upper arm to measure blood pressure, a pulse oximeter on the finger to measure oxygen saturation, a face mask through which the individual will breathe through so levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide can be detected, and cardiac electrocardiogram (“ECG”) wires so the heart can be monitored.

Why is a CPET Done?

A CPET can be done for a number of reasons including to assess exercise capacity, assist physicians in diagnosis, and determine someone’s exercise limit if they have lung or heart issues. A CPET can also be an incredibly helpful test in determining one’s level of impairment or disability.

Should I Undergo a CPET as Part of My Disability Case?

That depends. If your disability is due to cardiovascular or pulmonary illness, then yes.

A CPET is also very helpful in disability cases where fatigue is a prominent symptom such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. This is because a CPET is an objective test. This means that the results are reached using the physiological responses measured during the test and are not based on one’s own subjective reports of fatigue. Because of this, the results cannot be faked.

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