Pediatric Heart Stress Test

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A pediatric heart stress test, combined with an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), provides information about how well a child’s heart functions.

The exercise stress test takes measurements of the child’s heart activity while he or she is active — as kids often are. Other heart tests may take measurements while the child is resting.

The child will walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike. Under the guidance of a trained health care provider, the pediatric heart stress test will gradually become more difficult. On a treadmill, the speed and elevation will increase gradually. On a stationary bike, the pedaling resistance — how hard the child must work to move the pedals — will increase gradually.

For the EKG, 10 self-adhesive electrodes will be placed on the child’s body in precise areas to capture heart activity during the test. The child also will wear a cuff on the arm to measure blood pressure readings. To capture breathing and oxygen readings, the child may wear a mouthpiece and a nose clip during the test.

Following the test, our pediatric cardiologists will gather and analyze the data from the pediatric heart stress test. They will then meet with the family to discuss the results and any recommendations for treatment, if necessary.

Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, is the leading provider of pediatric heart care in Louisville and Southern Indiana.

Norton Children’s has a network of outreach diagnostic and treatment services conveniently located throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

Why Choose Norton Children’s Heart Institute

  • Norton Children’s Hospital has been a pioneer in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, performing Kentucky’s first pediatric heart transplant in 1986 and becoming the second site in the United States to perform an infant heart transplant.
  • The American Board of Thoracic Surgery has certified our cardiothoracic surgeons in congenital heart surgery.
  • The Adult Congenital Heart Association has accredited Norton Children’s Heart Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program as the only comprehensive care center in Kentucky and Indiana treating adults born with a heart defect.
  • More than 5,000 children a year visit Norton Children’s Heart Institute for advanced heart care.
  • Norton Children’s Heart Institute has offices across Kentucky and Southern Indiana to bring quality pediatric heart care closer to home.
  • The Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at Norton Children’s Hospital is the largest dedicated CICU in Kentucky, equipped with 17 private rooms and the newest technology available for heart care.
The Adult Congenital Heart Association has recognized Norton Children's Heart Institute for its expertise treating adult congenital heart disease.

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