How to Get a CPET (maybe)

artwork: Robin Mead

The CPET is a test used by some people to document ME and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome while applying for disability.

It can also be called a “metabolic/expired air test” or a “V02 max test” or a “metabolic exercise test” or “cardiopulmonary exercise testing.”

CPETS are often used by people applying for LTD private disability. Sometimes they are used for Social Security disability.

Is This Test Safe?

Some people are very happy with their CPET test and feel it was well worth doing. Other people report health damage from the test. This damage can be short term or ongoing.

Many people report that they were not warned ahead of time about the health risks. Before going forward, please read this page: Real Life Stories from People Who Had CPETs

Will I Get Approved for Disability? 

Maybe. There is a common misconception that a two-day CPET is an “automatic approval” for disability. This is not true and some readers here got this test, had test results showing disability, and were still denied.

LTD – If you are applying for LTD private disability, many people report that 2-day CPET test results were very significant and helpful in their cases. Some LTD companies request to see the raw data from CPET testing. Lawyers who specialize in LTD and ME often recommend the 2-day version of the CPET to their clients.

Social Security – If you are applying for Social Security, this test may be very helpful, but it is important to keep in mind that Social Security will be considering your entire case file. The decision will not be made based on one test result. It is also important to be aware that most two-day CPETS are not performed or signed by an Acceptable Medical Source.  In some cases, Social Security may chose to disregard CPET test results for this reason. If you can get a letter from your doctor supporting the CPET test results, this will solve this problem.

One Day and Two Day CPETS

There are two kinds of CPETs: One day or two day. Both have distinct advantages and disadvantages.

💮 One-day CPET is a test you may be able to get locally from a cardiologist or an exercise physiologist. The Pros and Cons of a One Day CPET

💮 Two-day CPETs are run by the Workwell Foundation in California and by Betsy Keller in Ithica New York. The Pros and Cons of a Two-Day CPET

💮 A third option: Lavender brilliantly figured out how to get a little of the best of both worlds: Lavender Solves the Problem of the CPET

Learn More

💮  There are many options for other kinds of medical tests: How to Get Tested for ME and CFS

💮 Great article from Jennie Spotila about her CPET test: Exercise Testing and Using a Heart Rate Monitor

💮 Here is a great page of Resources from The Workwell Foundation explaining how a CPET works, along with medical and scientific information about CPETs and ME.

💮 Here is a sample report from a two-day CPET. 

💮 Here is an example of an outcome from a CPET test: 



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