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Cardio pulmonary exercise test: CPET

Aims: to accurately measure exercise capacity for clinical use and research

What is CPET ? Cardio pulmonary Exercise Testing (CPET) is a non-invasive simultaneous measurement of the cardiovascular and respiratory system during exercise to assess a patient’s exercise capacity.
How to refer

Please download + print/email this referral form  to

Mobile Number 07849 016074

Landline 020 3447 2838

Why do a CPET ?

CPET is used for many specific reasons, but in general it can

  • help estimate risk for patients undergoing surgery
  • be useful in investigating breathlessness
  • be used in exercise programmes  
What does it involve ?

Patients please click here to see our YOU tube guide!

During the CPET test, once consent has been taken and the preliminary tests (Hb, spirometry) are complete, the patient undertakes a 'ramped protocol test' on a cycle ergometer.

We attach a 12 lead ECG, blood pressure cuff, saturation probe and a soft rubber face mask with a turbine to measure the expired gases before the test starts. The patient then rests for 3 minutes then begins to cycle. After 3 minutes of unloaded cycling the resistance begins to increase. The patient continues pedalling at 60rpm until they can no longer cycle, unless they have chest pains, feel discomfort or rarely if the physiologist stops the test.

During every test exercise physiologists trained to carry out the CPET are present, in conjunction with a doctor.

Reports from the test are written up and sent back to the medical team.

Download a brief introduction to CPET by Adam Jackson

Here's a great introduction to CPET interpretation from the University of Washington


CPET Setup - what we do before the test     

CPET for Patients - what to tell patients coming for a test

CPET Introduction - outlines a test  

CPET Analysis - more information that the 'introduction' podcast

CPET Critique overview by Professor Mike Grocott


The CPET tests are carried out at 3 sites;

University College London Hospital, 1st floor podium in Clinic A- 

Alternate Mondays, every Thursday and Friday

UCLH at Westmorland Street - alternate Mondays in the 'Cystectomy Clinic'

The Royal Free Hospital testing Thursdays- Dr Dan Martin

Patients having surgery at The Whittington Hospital, Archway are tested at the UCL Hospitals or the Royal Free. 


Rob StephensDan Martin, Belinda Norton, Chris Wilkinson, James Otto, David Bruce. 

Thank you to Dr Denny Levett, Professor Mike Grocott and Professor Hugh Montgomery for valuable advice. 

Gurinder Rayat was our student 2015-16, and Tapi Mafuva will be joining us in August 2016.


Completed Study- currently analysing:

Using cardiopulmonary exercise testing as a risk stratification tool for patients undergoing major colorectal surgery, Funded by NIHR Research for Patient Benefit Grant Programme; multi-centre randomised controlled trial; PI Prof Mike Grocott with SOURCE


Please contact initially our email or  Dan Martin or Rob Stephens

Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing, c/o ISEH, 

1st Floor, 

170 Tottenham Court Road, 

London, W1T 7HA


Professor Monty Mythen
Dr Gareth Ackland

Dr Ramani Moonesinghe at SOURCE

The CPEX team is a multidisciplinary venture started by the Centre for Altitude Space and Extreme Environment Medicine group UCL


Rob Stephens at UCLH, Dan Martin at RFH or

UCLH Landlline 0207 7940500 Ext 24534

Mobile Number 07849 016074

UCLH: Clinic A, Room 4, Surgical Reception, University College Hospital

RFH: PITU 3 Lung Function Diagnostic Room, 2nd Floor, Royal Free Hospital


We're starting an exciting learning programme in August 2013 
Here's test Slideshow 1

We often have visiting teams in the clinic.

Contact Rob Stephens for more info


Perioperative Exercise Testing and Training Society

We recommend courses on the website and EBPOM

The ATS guidelines on performing a CPEx test