Invasive Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing (iCPET)

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The invasive cardiopulmonary exercise testing (iCPET) laboratory at UCLA provides comprehensive testing to evaluate symptoms that arise during exercise. The program comprises members of the Pulmonary Vascular Disease and Cardiology programs at UCLA to evaluate otherwise unexplained shortness of breath that occurs with exercise.

Patients undergoing iCPET have traditionally already undergone a series of standard tests. While most causes of shortness of breath can be diagnosed without an iCPET, less common causes, such as exercise-induced pulmonary hypertension, exercise-induced heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, pre-load failure, or mitochondrial diseases cannot be diagnosed without iCPET. 

Exercise testing is performed on a stationary bicycle to measure heart and lung function. A catheter is placed in the main blood vessels that connect the heart and lungs to allow for precise measurements of heart and blood vessel function during exercise. A separate catheter is placed in the wrist to allow for precise measures of blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, carbon dioxide levels, blood pH measurements, and lactic acid levels during exercise.

This test represents the “gold standard” for diagnosis of exercise intolerance and is used to help guide treatment decisions.