Cardiopulmonary Stress Test


A cardiopulmonary stress test, which is often referred to as a cardiopulmonary exercise test as well, is a noninvasive way for doctors to evaluate the performance of a patient’s heart and lungs.

By performing a cardiopulmonary stress test, we can determine if your heart or lungs are underperforming, which can indicate other potential health issues that we will then consider further. We also perform cardiopulmonary stress tests for patients who are scheduled for major surgery or who are rehabilitating following a major illness.

What is a Cardiopulmonary Stress Test?

Before undergoing a cardiopulmonary stress test, our doctors will measure the breathing, blood pressure and heart rate of the patient to determine whether their lungs and heart appear to be performing properly when little stress is applied. Once this information is collected, the patient will undergo the cardiopulmonary stress test.

Patients will be required to perform mild exercise. The patient will breathe into a special mouthpiece that will measure their rate of breathing. This, in turn, allows doctors to evaluate the strength and capacity of the lungs. Heart rate and blood pressure will also be monitored during the exercise period.

The exercises that you have to do to complete a cardiopulmonary stress test will not require you to exert a ton of effort and will only last around ten minutes. The entire test, which includes measurements taken prior to the exercise, the actual exercise period and the measurements that are then taken following the exercise period, should amount to no more than 40 minutes.

Once the test is complete, our doctors will analyze your lung function, your oxygen consumption during the exercise, your heart performance during the exercise, your anaerobic threshold and your blood gas measurement.

Preparing for a Cardiopulmonary Stress Test

There are several steps that you should take to properly prepare for a cardiopulmonary stress test. Following these steps ensures that we can record accurate information during the test.

  • Wear comfortable clothing that you can exercise in easily. Avoid wearing tight clothing, which can restrict your breathing.
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal for at least two hours before taking the test.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol for at least four hours before taking the test.
  • Avoid smoking for at least one hour before taking the test.
  • Do not perform strenuous exercise for at least 30 minutes before taking the test.
  • Do not stop taking any of your regularly prescribed medications.

For more information about our cardiopulmonary stress test or any of our other pulmonary diagnostic services, be sure to contact us at Brunswick Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine today.