Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing in Patients With Interstitial Lung Disease.

Molgat-Seon Y; Schaeffer MR; Ryerson CJ; Guenette JA;

Frontiers in physiology [Front Physiol] 2020 Jul 10; Vol. 11, pp. 832. Date of Electronic Publication: 2020 Jul 10 (Print Publication: 2020).

Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a heterogeneous group of conditions characterized by fibrosis and/or inflammation of the lung parenchyma. The pathogenesis of ILD consistently results in exertional dyspnea and exercise intolerance. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) provides important information concerning the pathophysiology of ILD that can help inform patient management. Despite the purported benefits of CPET, its clinical utility in ILD is not well defined; however, there is a growing body of evidence that provides insight into the potential value of CPET in ILD. Characteristic responses to CPET in patients with ILD include exercise-induced arterial hypoxemia, an exaggerated ventilatory response, a rapid and shallow breathing pattern, critically low inspiratory reserve volume, and elevated sensations of dyspnea and leg discomfort. CPET is used in ILD to determine cause(s) of symptoms such as exertional dyspnea, evaluate functional capacity, inform exercise prescription, and determine the effects of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions on exercise capacity and exertional symptoms. However, preliminary evidence suggests that CPET in ILD may also provide valuable prognostic information and can be used to ascertain the degree of exercise-induced pulmonary hypertension. Despite these recent advances, additional research is required to confirm the utility of CPET in patients with ILD. This brief review outlines the clinical utility of CPET in patients with ILD. Typical patterns of response are described and practical issues concerning CPET interpretation in ILD are addressed. Additionally, important unanswered questions relating to the clinical utility of CPET in the assessment, prognostication, and management of patients with ILD are identified.