Exercise Testing

Under the direction of Inger Olson, MD, the Exercise Laboratory at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital performs both graded treadmill and bicycle exercise studies in children and young adults.  These studies are conducted by a dedicated exercise physiologist. 

Baseline pulmonary function studies are performed prior to the exercise study, to help determine whether an abnormal exercise study is in part related to lung dysfunction. During the exercise test, heart rate, blood pressure, electrocardiograms, and gas analysis of oxygen and carbon dioxide are measured. All subjects are exercised to exhaustion so that a determination of exercise capacity can be made.

Results of the exercise study can aid the referring physician in determining whether there is a heart and/or lung cause of their patient's condition(s). Exercise testing can also monitor a patient’s progress with regard to treatment or rehabilitation programs.


Some indications for exercise testing include:

  •    Obtaining an objective measurement of exercise capacity
  •    Monitoring for improvement during treatment for various conditions
  •    Monitoring progress during rehabilitation
  •    Helping determine need for and timing of heart surgery
  •    Evaluating for abnormal heart rhythm during exercise
  •    Evaluating symptoms that occur with exercise