COHP faculty member introduces benefits of exercise testing to Marshall cardiology fellows to help improve regional health care

TerryShepherdDr. Terry Shepherd of the  College of Health Professions recently held a clinical demonstration that showed the capabilities of cardio pulmonary exercise tests (CPETs) for 12 fellows from Marshall Cardiology in the Cam Henderson Center.

Shepherd, a faculty member since 1987 and an exercise physiologist in the college, said the equipment used in the demonstration can determine whether someone has an exercise intolerance and if this intolerance is caused by the pulmonary system or the cardiovascular system.

“Many times doctors can’t figure out why patients say they are unable to do certain physical things they were capable of doing last year and nothing is showing up on basic medical tests,” Shepherd said. “The idea is to test them while they are actually exercising. I specialize in using exercise as a modality to discern what illness may be occurring in a patient.”

Valued at more than $35,000, the Cardio Pulmonary Exercise System: TrueOne2400 Metabolic Measurement System is the equipment that measures an individual’s VO2 levels, or oxygen consumption, while exercising.

“Oxygen consumption is dependent upon three things: how well your lungs are working, how well your heart is working and how well your muscle tissue is working,” Shepherd said. “If any of those systems aren’t working properly, then your VO2 will be low. If your lungs, heart and muscles are very fit, then your VO2 levels will be high and it would appear all your systems are working the very best they can. This testing shows VO2 as the best measurement of fitness.”

CalebHillandCardiologyFellowsDr. Ellen Thompson, program director for Marshall Cardiology, said this equipment provides solutions to various cardiovascular issues and would be an invaluable asset to any cardiology team.

“I wanted our fellows to understand what this sort of testing provides as it’s not something they are exposed to very often,” Thompson said. “I don’t think they knew what kind of information you can get from the CPETs and now that they do, they all want to come back and have the test conducted on themselves.”

Dr.  Faisal Hayat attended the demonstration in hopes of learning how exercise testing could help him practice medicine with more accuracy. Hayat, originally from Pakistan, came to West Virginia in 2005 and joined Marshall Cardiology in 2011.

“I think the patient population we are seeing has multiple diseases – heart conditions, diabetes, obesity, etc.,” Hayat said. “When a patient tells me something is wrong, we can perform similar tests like this in order to better determine what is causing these illnesses and work toward helping them.”

The Cardio Pulmonary Exercise System: TrueOne2400 Metabolic Measurement System, housed in the basement of the Cam Henderson Center, was purchased in 2009 and has since been used for CPET testing in the college.



Photos: (Above) Dr. Terry Shepherd provided an educational session prior to the demonstration to help the fellows of Marshall Cardiology understand the benefits of exercise testing. (Below) Caleb Hill,  of Boone County,  is a graduate assistant in the department of exercise science. Hill served as the “guinea pig” for the clinical demonstration in which 12 fellows from Marshall Cardiology learned how CPETs can help save the lives of patients with various metabolic, cardiovascular and pulmonary problems.