HF 7881

Pediatric Exercise Stress Test (GXT)

Your child has been scheduled for a cardiac exercise/stress test at the American Family Children’s Hospital:

Appointment date and time: _________________________________.

How to Prepare for the Test

  1. Have your child wear comfortable shoes (tennis shoes or sneakers) and loose clothes (t-shirt, tank top, etc) that are good to exercise in. These shoes/clothes are not allowed and may result in the test being rescheduled:

    • Bare feet 

    • Sandals 

    • High-heeled shoes 

    • One piece outfits

    • Boots

  2. Eating a light snack and drinking fluids before the test is fine. Your child should not have heavy meals or drinks with caffeine 2-3 hours before the test.

  3. Avoid using skin lotions or creams on your child on the day of the test.

  4. Your child can still take medicines. If your child has an albuterol inhaler, please bring it with you.

  5. A parent or guardian must come with any minor patient (less than 18 years old). 

  6. Contact your insurance company to make sure that this test will be covered before coming to clinic. Please bring your insurance cards and any referrals needed with you.    

Treatments and Procedures

The exercise stress test is not invasive. Electrodes (small sticky patches) will be placed on your child's chest, arms and legs. These will measure the electrical activity of the heart. This is called an EKG or ECG.

Before the test begins, we will take baseline measurements of your child’s heart rate and blood pressure. The blood pressure cuff squeezes the arm and may feel tight for a short time.

Most tests are done on the treadmill. During the test, your child will walk on a treadmill and blood pressure readings are taken throughout. This will measure the heart's reaction to exercise. 

The treadmill gets faster and steeper every 3 minutes. We will ask your child to go for as long as they can and will encourage them to push themselves. This will give us more information about their heart. We will monitor your child for 10-15 minutes after exercising, or until their heart rate returns to normal. 

Your child’s cardiology care team may ask your child to wear a mask on their face that will measure how much oxygen they are getting. This is another way to check how the heart is working.

Sometimes, a child has a stress echocardiogram done before and after the test. Your child’s cardiology care team will let you know if this has been ordered.

Test Results

Your child’s care team or doctor will discuss the results with you in person, by telephone, or by MyChart. The results of this test will help your child’s care team know how their heart is working. It will help them come up with a treatment plan that is best for your child.


If you have any questions about this test, please call the AFCH Pediatric Cardiology Clinic 608-263-6420 Option 2.