Exercise testing (also referred to as ‘stress testing’) is a valuable, non-invasive tool that can help us identify your child's exercise ability and help detect heart and/or lung problems. During the test, we take an electrocardiogram by placing electrode stickers on your child’s chest. The stickers and sensors allow us to monitor changes in your child’s heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation.
Depending on your child’s needs, we may also monitor oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production by having your child wear a soft face mask, and test their pulmonary function by having your child blow into a spirometer before and after exercise testing.
We use exercise testing to:
Evaluate your child's congenital heart and/or lung disease
Evaluate your child's cardiac and pulmonary functional capacity
Assess your child's symptoms and activity-related problems (fainting, chest pain, exercise-induced asthma, etc.)
Learn how medications might affect your child's exercise performance
The test is usually done on a treadmill or stationary bicycle, depending on the child’s age, size, and ability. The treadmill speed and grade or resistance on the stationary bicycle gets increasingly harder the longer the child exercises and your child will exercise until maximal effort is achieved (usually only lasting about 10-12 minutes). Once the exercise portion of the test has ended, the child is allowed to rest. The entire appointment usually takes about 1 hour.
Your child should wear comfortable, loose and appropriately fitting clothes and gym shoes (appropriate footwear is required to complete testing).
Your child may eat and drink like normal the day of the appointment, but should not eat a large meal immediately prior to testing, and should avoid caffeinated products like coffee, tea, and soda the day of the appointment.
This test is not dangerous. You can expect your child to get short of breath and muscle fatigue due to the level of exercise. After the test, your child may feel tired because he or she just exercised hard.
A certified clinical Exercise Physiologist will conduct the test, and other staff like our clinic nurses may also help. You can expect results once the testing is reviewed and interpreted by a pediatric cardiologist and the exercise physiologist.
The exercise test is conducted in the Exercise Physiology Lab, which is part of the Cardiology Clinic. The location of the testing is dependent upon your child’s medical history.
You can make an appointment by calling the Exercise Physiology Lab at (816) 234-9416. Appointments are available Monday-Friday, with Saturday clinics once a month.