Annals Of The American Thoracic Society [Ann Am Thorac Soc] 2017 May 16. Date of Electronic Publication: 2017 May 16.
Cardiopulmonary exercise testing adds measurement of ventilation and volume of oxygen uptake and exhaled carbon dioxide to routine physiological and performance parameters obtainable from conventional exercise testing, furnishing an all-round vision of the systems involved in both oxygen transport from air to mitochondria and its utilization during exercise. Peculiarities of cardiopulmonary exercise testing methodology are the use of ramp protocols and calibration procedures for flow meters and gas analyzers. Among the several parameters provided by this technique, peak oxygen uptake, first and second ventilatory thresholds, respiratory exchange ratio, oxygen pulse, slope of ventilation divided by exhaled carbon dioxide relationship, exercise oscillatory ventilation, circulatory power and partial pressure of end-tidal carbon dioxide are among the most relevant in the clinical setting. The choice of parameters to be considered will depend on the indication to cardiopulmonary exercise testing in the individual subject or patient, namely, exercise tolerance assessment, prognostic stratification, training prescription, treatment efficacy evaluation, diagnosis of causes of unexplained exercise tolerance reduction or exercise (patho)physiology evaluation for research purposes. Overall, cardiopulmonary exercise testing is a methodology now widely available and supported by a sound scientific evidence. Despite this, its potential still remains largely underused. Strong efforts and future investigations are needed to address these issues and further promote the use of cardiopulmonary exercise testing in the clinical and research setting.