Perioperative cardiopulmonary exercise testing (PCPET) is increasingly being used in the UK and abroad by anaesthetists and perioperative physicians to evaluate physical fitness (also known as functional capacity) prior to surgery and thus improve patient care. A survey in 2013 reports that 32% of adult anaesthetic departments in the UK have access to CPET (Huddart, Young et al. 2013), an increase of 40% since a similar survey in 2008. A survey of current practice in the UK is in progress.

Furthermore, recent evidence suggests that exercise programmes before and after surgery may improve fitness and thus reduce complications and death after surgery.

With the rapid uptake of CPET it is essential that testing is of high quality and is reproducible if it is to benefit patient care. POETTS has been established to introduce guidelines for perioperative CPET and standardized education and accreditation for practitioners. The society will provide educational resources and an opportunity to identify local mentors for training.

The majority of published studies supporting CPET are single centre cohorts (see evidence link). In order to establish valid risk thresholds and to identify the best variable or combination of variables to predict surgical outcome, POETTS also aims to facilitate collaborative research for CPET, including the establishment of a national CPET database, housed in the Health Services Research Centre (HSRC) at the Royal College of Anaesthetists.