Safety and Feasibility of Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing in Head and Neck Cancer Survivors

Adrian W. Midgley, Andrew R. Levy, Felipe A. Cunha, Angela Key, Joanne M. Patterson, Simon N. Rogers

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Abstract

Purpose: Assess safety and feasibility of the cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) for evaluating head and neck cancer (HaNC) survivors. Also compare their cardiorespiratory fitness to age and sex-matched norms and establish current physical activity levels Methods: Fifty HaNC survivors [29 male; mean (SD) age, 62 (8) years], who had completed treatment up to 1 year previously, were recruited. Participants performed a CPET on a cycle ergometer to symptom-limited tolerance. Participants completed a questionnaire to report contributory factors they perceived as influencing test termination. Physical activity levels were determined using a self-reported physical activity questionnaire. Results: Three participants did not complete the CPET because 1) poor fitting mouthpiece and naso-oral mask due to facial disfiguration from surgery; 2) knee pain elicited by cycling; and 3) early CPET termination due to electrocardiogram artefacts. Participants reached a mean peak oxygen uptake that was 34% lower than predicted and the mean (SD) CPET duration of 7:52 (2:29) min:s was significantly lower than the target test duration of 10 min (p < 0.001). Leg muscle aches and/or breathing discomfort were major contributory factors influencing test termination for 78% of participants, compared to 13% for dry mouth/throat and/or drainage in the mouth/throat. No major adverse events occurred. Participants were categorised as 26% active, 8% moderately active, and 66% insufficiently active. Conclusion: These preliminary data suggest the CPET appears safe and feasible for most HaNC survivors when strict exclusion criteria are applied; however, low levels of cardiorespiratory fitness should be considered when calculating an appropriate ramp rate.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Physiology and Functional Imaging
Early online date19 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • cardiorespiratory fitness
  • CPET
  • CPX
  • oncology
  • peak oxygen uptake
  • risk

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