Why aren’t the oxygen levels of ME sufferers routinely checked?
The simple answer is that routinely measuring oxygen levels in ME/CFS isn’t going to help with either diagnosis or management – unless there is some indication that the person may also have an underlying respiratory disease.
What can be helpful in relation to both diagnosis and management of ME/CFS is having a two-day cardiopulmonary exercise test – which measures dynamic oxygen uptake and use. But Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing (CPET) testing is not easy to organise – as it is a hospital-based investigation.
- IACFS/ME Conference – Professor Todd Davenport study on exercise testing and ventilatory measurements in ME/CFS | October 2021
- There have been several clinical trials that have used CPET to try and understand Post-Exertional Malaise. Dr Betsy Keller in America is currently working on a multi-centre trial that will aim to replicate and improve on the existing results. The study is expected to complete in Autumn 2022.
- You can read about previous research that has used CPET in ME/CFS to determine PEM by downloading and searching the free ME Association Index of Published Research.
Medical Matters is for information purposes only. The answers provided by Dr Shepherd and the ME Association’s other expert advisers should not be construed as medical advice. We recommend that any information you deem relevant is discussed with your GP as soon as possible. It is important to obtain advice from a GP who is in charge of your clinical care, who knows you well, and who can consider other likely causes for symptoms. Seek personalised medical advice whenever a new symptom arises, or an existing symptom worsens. Don't assume that new or worsened symptoms are a result of having ME/CFS.