How to Get a CPET (maybe)

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Artwork: Robin Mead

The CPET is a cardiopulmonary exercise test that is sometimes used to document impairments in people with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

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

What Exactly is a CPET? What Does it Measure?

Great articles and resources that can tell you everything you need to know:

Why To Take a CPET

The most common reasons we have heard from readers:

  • Applying for Long Term Disability
  • Applying for Social Security Disability
  • Offered a CPET as part of a research study
  • People interested in learning more about their health limitations
  • People seeking validation of their physical impairments.
  • Some people find the CPET report is useful in helping friends, families, and local doctors understand the severity of their illness and take their condition more seriously.

Is The CPET 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. Some of our readers report that they were not warned ahead of time about the health risks. Before going forward, you may find it helpful to read some 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. Results from a CPET test can be extremely helpful in some disability cases, but it definitely is not a guaranteed approval. Some things you need to know about the CPET Test for People Applying for Disability

Different Kinds of 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. It will not include an analysis of ME/CFS. The Pros and Cons of a One Day CPET

💮 A more detailed one day CPET is offered by Hunter Hopkins Center in North Carolina, which specializes in ME/CFS. Examples of Conclusions in CPET Report from Hunter Hopkins

💮 Two-day CPETs include the most detailed and helpful reports and are available in New York, California, and sometimes elsewhere. The Pros and Cons of a Two-Day CPET.

💮 Lavender got a one day CPET and worked with a local practitioner to create a more detailed report that included some of the elements of a two day CPET: Lavender Solves the Problem of the CPET

💮 Dahlia started with a one day CPET. When that didn’t turn out well, she got a two day one: Dahlia Gets a CPET.

💮 Update: We have also gotten reports that some form of CPET is being offered by TCR Sport Lab in Calgary Alberta, but we don’t know the quality of these reports. Please comment below if you have more information.

Samples 2-Day CPET Reports

💮 Sample report from Workwell Foundation. 

💮 Second sample report from Workwell Foundation (scroll to bottom)

Thanks for Reading

🌷 This page is part of the free online guide: The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability 

🌷 Learn more about this topic hereHow to Get Tested for ME and CFS

🌷 Art on this page by Robin Mead and Elizabeth D’Angelo.

🌷 Page Updated: 8/1/19

What Do You Think?

🌷 Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. 

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2 thoughts on “How to Get a CPET (maybe)”

  1. Dr. Black is my CFS doctor. She WILL offer a 2 day CPET if she feels that your original one day exam does not prove your level of disability. However, she does find 90% of the time her patients “fail” the CPET the first go around and there is no need for a second day of testing.

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