Using Exercise Testing to Measure the Benefits of Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation


About this study

Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation (CP rehab) with an exercise component is important in the care from many people with heart or lung disease. Measuring the benefits of CP rehab (i.e., measuring ‘how well CP rehab works’) depends upon having tests or ‘tools’ that can very well detect positive changes in physical and clinical function. One such tool is maximal cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET). This is the gold standard for measuring exercise capacity. However, maximal CPET is expensive, has extensive set-up and space requirements, needs direct medical supervision, and involves interpretive complexity; these factors have limited the widespread use of maximal CPET as an outcome measurement tool in CP rehab programs.

We and others have shown that measures of breathing and how gases (i.e., oxygen and carbon dioxide) exchange at the lungs during short submaximal exercise can be used to identify pulmonary and/or cardiac abnormalities. For the present research, we are theorizing that any before to after CP rehab improvements in general cardiopulmonary function and the cardiopulmonary responses to exercise should be reflected in the breathing and gas exchange responses to submaximal exercise. As such, the key objective of this research is to examine the cardiopulmonary responses to a short, incremental but submaximal exercise test (iCPET) in patients before and after completion of a standard cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program. In doing so, the proposed research may identify submaximal exercise testing as a useful adjunct outcome assessment tool in the setting of CP Rehab.

Participation eligibility

Participant eligibility includes age, gender, type and stage of disease, and previous treatments or health concerns. Guidelines differ from study to study, and identify who can or cannot participate. There is no guarantee that every individual who qualifies and wants to participate in a trial will be enrolled. Contact the study team to discuss study eligibility and potential participation.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Patients who are referred for and undergo standard exercise-based cardiopulmonary rehabilitation at Mayo Clinic Florida. All covered diagnoses will be eligible.
  • Willing and able to provide written informed consent.
  • Able to perform three minutes of submaximal (‘relatively easy’) step exercise.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Other than refusal to provide written informed consent, there are no strict exclusion criteria. All patents eligible for, and physically able to participate in, exercise-based cardiopulmonary rehabilitation will be considered eligible. 
  • The proposed iCPET is a simple, low risk, and submaximal exercise test.
  • Any patient cleared to take part in exercise-based cardiopulmonary rehabilitation will have been deemed safe to perform such exercise.

Eligibility last updated 1/28/22. Questions regarding updates should be directed to the study team contact.





Participating Mayo Clinic locations

Study statuses change often. Please contact the study team for the most up-to-date information regarding possible participation.

Mayo Clinic Location Status Contact

Jacksonville, Fla.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

Bryan Taylor, Ph.D.

Open for enrollment

Contact information:

Bryan Taylor Ph.D.

(904) 953-7274

More information


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