Exercise EKG testing In-Depth

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Contact the Exercise Physiology Lab

What is exercise EKG testing?

Exercise EKG testing is used to determine how your child’s heart responds to stress or exercise.

How does an exercise EKG test work?

  • Electrodes (small, plastic patches) are placed on your child's chest, arms and legs.
  • A blood pressure cuff monitors her blood pressure.
  • Your child begins to exercise on a treadmill or stationery bike.
  • The electrodes are connected to the EKG machine by lead wires, through which the electrical activity of your child's heart is measured, interpreted and printed out.
  • Resistance and speed are varied in order to give a harder or easier workout.
  • Your child will exercise until reaching a target heart rate or until unable to continue due to fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, irregular heart rhythms or other symptoms.

How should I prepare my child for exercise EKG testing?

The procedure will take about one hour, including check-in and preparation.

A hospital stay is not necessary unless your child's physician determines that your child's condition requires further observation or hospital admission.

Your child may feel a little tired or sore for a few hours after the procedure, particularly if he isn’t used to exercising. Otherwise, your child should feel normal within a few hours.

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Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS | 844-224-7337