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Open Access Software

Software for interpreting cardiopulmonary exercise tests

Robert M Ross* and David B Corry

Author Affiliations

Department of Medicine Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, 77030, USA

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BMC Pulmonary Medicine 2007, 7:15  doi:10.1186/1471-2466-7-15

Published: 23 October 2007

Abstract

Background

Cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) has become an important modality for the evaluation and management of patients with a diverse array of medical problems. However, interpreting these tests is often difficult and time consuming, requiring significant expertise.

Methods

We created a computer software program (XINT) that assists in CPET interpretation. The program uses an integrative approach as recommended in the Official Statement of the American Thoracic Society/American College of Chest Physicians (ATS/ACCP) on Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing. In this paper we discuss the principles behind the software. We also provide the detailed logic in an accompanying file (Additional File 1). The actual program and the open source code are also available free over the Internet at http://www.xint.org webcite. For convenience, the required download files can also be accessed from this article.

Additional file 1. XINTlogic. This file provides the detailed logic used by the XINT program. The variable names are described in Table 1. The actual source code may also be read directly simply by opening the source code with a text editor.

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This file can be viewed with: Microsoft Word ViewerOpen Data

Results

To test the clinical usefulness of XINT, we present the computer generated interpretations of the case studies discussed in the ATS/ACCP document in another accompanying file (Additional File 2). We believe the interpretations are consistent with the document's criteria and the interpretations given by the expert panel.

Additional file 2. XINTinterpretations. These are the XINT generated reports based on the five examples provided in the ATS/ACCP statement on cardiopulmonary exercise testing [1].

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This file can be viewed with: Microsoft Word ViewerOpen Data

Conclusion

Computers have become an integral part of modern life. Peer-reviewed scientific journals are now able to present not just medical concepts and experimental studies, but actual functioning medical interpretive software. This has enormous potential to improve medical diagnoses and patient care. We believe XINT is such a program that will give clinically useful interpretations when used by the medical community at large.