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Overview of aerobic exercise testing in children and adolescents

James M Pivarnik, PhD
Dawn P Coe, PhD
Section Editors
Albert C Hergenroeder, MD
George B Mallory, MD
Deputy Editor
Carrie Armsby, MD, MPH


Indications — Incremental aerobic exercise tests are performed in children and adolescents for a variety of reasons (table 1) [1]. The primary indication is to provide the clinician with information about a young patient's physical working capacity. The information gained from an aerobic exercise test is helpful in determining:

Whether a patient can perform daily activities within his or her functional capacity

Whether he or she is responding appropriately to an exercise intervention program

Whether chronic disease progression is affecting the patient's physical capacity

Contraindications — Exercise testing can be performed safely in most children. Absolute contraindications to exercise testing include:

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Aug 16, 2017.
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