C.P.E.T. testing for Me/cfs
CPET (cardiopulmonary exercise testing), also called CPX or max VO2 testing is an accepted way of quantifying the amount of fatigue we are feeling. Its one thing to say to your doctor, employer, family or disability judge "I'm too tired to do the things I used to do". A person who doesn't have ME/CFS has a hard time understanding the extent of fatigue and post exertional collapse that we experience because they often have no point of reference. The CPET offers a scientific way of proving how sick you are and is accepted as evidence of this in a disability claim. A two part CPET test is done in this case. The second test (24 hours after the first) is done to show how an ME/CFS patient is affected by activity AFTER the activity. As many of us know, we might be able to get through a day of activity on a good day, but pushing leads to a crash, days (or even weeks and months) after the activity.
Another benefit of CPET is using it to find your max VO2 level. Dr. Nancy Klimas uses this in helping patients know their limits of activity and building a mild exercise program that does not push the patient past their limits. The patients heart rate prior to reaching max VO2 is used as the limit not to be exceeded during activity. You can wear a heart rate alarm set to this number to keep you from overdoing it. Many of you may have heard that graded exercise therapy can be harmful, but when done this way, Dr. Klimas feels that a patient can safely build their stamina without the risk of depleting their energy reserves.
Most hospital diagnostic centers or exercise physiologists have the right equipment to perform the test, but may not be familiar with the correct way to implement it for a ME/CFS patient. You can direct them to this page or print out documentation and help educate them if you can. The following are the only places who are currently performing CPET specifically for ME/CFS patients.
Here are some of the best articles & videos I've found on the subject.
articles & info
The full length Nancy Klimas video can be rented or purchased on Vimeo
The slides from Dr. Snells presentation can be viewed here.