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Bright Futures

Articles and Updates from Phoenix Children's

September 14, 2021, Sabati, Arash A., MD
Children’s Cardiac Stress Tests Should Be Performed by Pediatric Heart/Lung Experts, Here’s Why
Children’s Cardiac Stress Tests Should Be Performed by Pediatric Heart/Lung Experts, Here’s Why

In most facilities, stress testing focuses on the changes in a heart’s electricity which can happen in adults over 60 years of age as they develop plaques and narrowing within their coronary arteries. These can cause symptoms such as chest pains. But when children and even young adults have chest pain symptoms, the cause is often different. So, performing the same heart electricity tests on kids as the ones typically performed on 60-70-year-old adult is not helpful.

Children and young adults require a much more comprehensive testing regimen to not only examine their heart’s electricity but also lung function, breathing patterns and even exercise capacity to find answers.

Children’s hearts require specially trained testing

Did you know children can increase their heart rate to close to 200 beats per minute during exercise? These heart rates are very normal for children but can be life-threatening for, say, 70-year-old adults. This is just one of the many differences between children and adults and why it takes a specialist, familiar with exercise physiology in children, to evaluate and diagnose exercise related problems in children safely and accurately.

The Phoenix Children’s Heart Center Exercise Stress Lab is a specialty lab staffed by both cardiologists and pulmonologists with expertise in exercise physiology. Children who have chest pain during exercise are 10 times more likely to have asthma than any heart condition. Our philosophy is to provide a high-level comprehensive test to evaluate all of the different causes for your child’s symptoms to provide answers with one test and we are the only pediatric exercise stress lab in the state that offers this type of comprehensive evaluation.

Children’s Cardiac Stress Tests Should Be Performed by Pediatric Heart/Lung Experts, Here’s Why

Ahead of the cardiac curve

In addition to evaluation of symptoms with exercise, we also perform specialized testing in children and young adults with existing heart, lung, blood, skeletal and even neurological or genetic conditions. For example, we are one of the only exercise labs in the Southwest able to perform exercise stress echocardiograms in children and receive referrals from specialists across the state. We see children and young adults with all types of congenital heart disease, and we participate in exercise related research studies to remain on the cutting edge of diagnosis and management.

Safety first

With the COVID-19 pandemic, our providers and staff have taken extra precautions to ensure your safety. As we cannot ask our patients to wear masks during exercise, our staff wear high level masks, face shields and gowns to ensure safety. All surfaces of our lab are disinfected between patients and we allow extra time in scheduling to allow any secretions or particles in the lab to be cleared between patients as well. We want to ensure our patients can safely exercise in our lab and we will continue to do everything possible maintain patient safety.

Children’s Cardiac Stress Tests Should Be Performed by Pediatric Heart/Lung Experts, Here’s Why

The Exercise Stress Lab at Phoenix Children’s Heart Center is a comprehensive lab with every type of cardiopulmonary evaluation and expertise to diagnose and treat your child’s symptoms. From athletes to congenital heart disease to asthma, you will not find a higher quality, more thorough, exercise stress evaluation anywhere else in Arizona.

For more information or to make an appointment, call the Phoenix Children’s Heart Center at 602-933-3366.

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