Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing in Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction: Technique Principles, Current Evidence, and Future Perspectives.

Boulmpou A; Boutou AK; Pella E; Sarafidis P; Papadopoulos CE; Vassilikos V;

Cardiology in review [Cardiol Rev] 2022 Dec 13.
Date of Electronic Publication: 2022 Dec 13.

Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is a multifactorial clinical syndrome involving a rather complex pathophysiologic substrate and quite a challenging diagnosis. Exercise intolerance is a major feature of HFpEF, and in many cases, diagnosis is suspected in subjects presenting with exertional dyspnea. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) is a noninvasive, dynamic technique that provides an integrative evaluation of cardiovascular, pulmonary, hematopoietic, neuropsychological, and metabolic functions during maximal or submaximal exercise. The assessment is based on the principle that system failure typically occurs when the system is under stress, and thus, CPET is currently considered to be the gold standard for identifying exercise intolerance, allowing the differential diagnosis of underlying causes. CPET is used in observational studies and clinical trials in HFpEF; however, in most cases, only a few from a wide variety of CPET parameters are examined, while the technique is largely underused in everyday cardiology practice. This article discusses the basic principles and methodology of CPET and studies that utilized CPET in patients with HFpEF, in an effort to increase awareness of CPET capabilities among practicing cardiologists.