Of all the tests I took when applying for disability, the 2-day CPET was the worst. It caused me to lose about 10% of function afterwards.
That was two years ago. In the last few weeks, I seem to be regaining a bit and I am hoping that I can get back to where I was before the test.
It took me a while to decide to do the test. I was applying for LTD (disability through my employer). First, I tried trying to get benefits by submitting a tilt table test, and that didn’t work. So I needed to find further ways of proving I was ill.
Traveling to Ithaca was difficult. My sister had to fly in to accompany me because I can’t manage on my own. We booked to be there a whole week in case I collapsed afterwards. So, it’s definitely a huge commitment to try and get this tests done.
The CPET involves pedaling on a stationary bike till muscular exhaustion — for me about 8 minutes total — while being hooked up to a machine which measures your oxygen and carbon dioxide, to reveal your anaerobic threshold.
I nearly blacked out in the cab after doing the first day test. The second day of testing, we were more careful. I rested for about 30 minutes in the facility after to recover.
The CPET report is very good, as it can show severe physical disability. However, I don’t think it is about one particular test, more about the whole picture of your medical records. The test cost about $2000. It is available at Workwell in California, Open Medicine Institute in California, and Betsy Keller in Ithica, NY. Betsy Keller and her team were amazing — very compassionate and helpful.
This test should only be done with knowledge of the risk. Most patients seem to have only a temporary crash from it for a few weeks, and don’t lose permanent function. For me it was ongoing.