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 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.
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
5. Your child may bring along a small electronic device (MP3 player, I-pod) to listen to music
during the test.
6. A parent or guardian must come with any minor patient (less than 18 years old).
7. 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.
How the Test is Performed
You can watch a video of the exercise stress test online:
www.uwhealth.org/kidshearts Treatments and Procedures
The exercise stress test is a non-invasive test. Electrodes (small sticky patches) will be placed on
your child's chest, arms and legs. These electrodes will measure the electrical activity of the
heart. This is called and 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.
During the test, your child will walk on a treadmill and blood pressure readings will be 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
Sometimes, a stress echocardiogram will also be done before and after the test. Your child’s
cardiology care team will let you know if an echocardiogram has been ordered.
Your child’s cardiology 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 the exercise stress test, please call the AFCH Pediatric
Cardiology Clinic 608-263-6420 Option 2.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 3/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7881