Synonym: Ergospirometry, engl: cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPX)


Spiroergometry is a medical procedure which is a combination of spirometry and ergometry. Ergo means as much as work. Ergometry is characterized by the fact that the subject performs physical work while certain vital parameters are recorded.

Spiro means as much as breathing. This means that spirometry is used to measure lung volumes and relates them to each other. The aim of spiroergometry is to test the function of the heart and lungs (cardiopulmonary performance) as well as the metabolism at rest, under increasing load and at the highest possible load. Spiroergometry is thus a procedure used in sports and performance medicine, but also in cardiology, pulmonology and occupational medicine. It serves as a non-invasive objective measurement of physical performance.


The more power the body produces, the more oxygen it needs. The body needs energy throughout its life. This energy is obtained to a large extent from the breakdown of sugar (glucose), the so-called glycolysis.

During moderate physical exertion, the body is in the mode of aerobic energy production. There is enough oxygen available to metabolize carbohydrates (sugar) completely, the sugar is broken down into its end products. If the load increases to such an extent that the muscles and the rest of the body need more oxygen than can be supplied, the anaerobic threshold, also called lactate threshold, is exceeded and the body is in the mode of anaerobic energy production.

Carbohydrates are still being metabolized, but they can no longer be broken down to the final product, only to the breakdown substance lactate. Lactate is also produced before reaching the anaerobic threshold but in smaller quantities. Anaerobic performance can only be achieved over a short period of time, usually within a few minutes, whereas aerobic performance is endurance performance, for example in a marathon. The supply of oxygen as well as the performance in the aerobic and anaerobic area play a central role in spiroergometry.