Optimal use of cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) in clinical practice and chronic heart failure (CHF) requires appropriate data presentation and a flexible interpretative strategy. The greatest potential impact on the decision-making process may rest not on the value of any individual measurement, although some are obviously more important than others, but rather on their integrative use. Such an integrative approach relies on interrelationship, trending phenomena and patterns of key gas exchange variable responses. An multiparametric approach will be discussed in different clinical applications, for exercise prescription and monitoring, functional evaluation of drug therapy or cardiac resynchronisation therapy efficacy, and risk stratification. The role of CPET in the daily clinical decision-making process will be underscored. Future indications of CPET will be addressed, suggesting and promoting an extended candidacy either to all CHF patients, including those at high risk or most vulnerable, such as female, elderly patients, and patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillator or in every clinical setting where objective definition of exercise capacity provides implications for medical, surgical, and social decision making.