What are the exercise stress tests offered at CHOA?
- Cardiopulmonary exercise stress test (bike or treadmill)
- Exercise stress echocardiogram
What is a cardiopulmonary exercise stress test?
A cardiac exercise stress test with metabolic gas analysis examines how the heart and lungs work together during and after exercise. Every few minutes, the exercise increases in difficulty, varying in speed and elevation on a treadmill and in resistance on a bike until the patient reaches a maximal effort. The patient is hooked up to an electrocardiogram to monitor heart rate and rhythm throughout exercise. Additionally, a mask covers the nose and mouth and is used to monitor breathing and how the body uses oxygen and removes carbon dioxide during exercise.
What is an exercise stress echocardiogram?
An exercise stress echocardiogram is a maximal effort test that examines heart and lung function during and after exercise. An echocardiogram is performed at each work stage of the exercise protocol, or just before and at immediate peak exercise.
Why are these tests ordered?
Many heart tests are performed at rest, however, the heart and lungs work harder during exercise. These tests examine how the heart functions at increased heart rates and how the lungs function at higher breathing rates. These tests are used to:
- Evaluate congenital heart disease
- Assess aerobic conditioning
- Evaluate for exercise induced arrhythmias
- Evaluate cardiac and pulmonary response to exercise
- Assess cardiac and pulmonary functional capacity
- Assess symptoms and exercise induced symptoms
- Evaluate for asthma and exercise induced asthma
- Assess sports clearance
How is it performed?
The exercise tests can be performed on either a bicycle or a treadmill. The stress echo is usually performed on a bicycle but can be performed on a treadmill. The tests consist of progressive stages of exercise that increase every few minutes in speed and elevation (treadmill) or in resistance (bicycle).
Where do I go for this test?
The tests are performed at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta-- Egleston campus:
1405 Clifton Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30322
How long does it take?
Prepare to be available for 1-1.5 hours for the exercise stress test and 2-2.5 hours for the stress echo. The exercise time itself depends on the patient's level of conditioning, but, on average, lasts about 20 minutes. The total time in the lab is used for test set-up, test explanation, exercise and recovery.
Who interprets the test and how long until I receive the results?
A pediatric cardiologist will interpret the results of the test and the patient's ordering physician will contact you with the results within two weeks of the test. If the results yield something dangerous, a physician will review the test before the patient leaves the exercise lab.