Exercise Field Testing in Children: A New Approach for Age-Appropriate Evaluation of Cardiopulmonary Function


Schöffl I, Ehrlich B, Stanger S, Rottermann K, Dittrich S, Schöffl V.Pediatr Cardiol. 2020 May 9. doi: 10.1007/s00246-020-02359-2. Online ahead of print.PMID: 32388667



Based on the wide range of problems to effectively perform cardiopulmonary testing in young children, this study strives to develop a new cardiopulmonary exercise test for children using a mobile testing device worn in a backpack in order to test children during their natural movement habits, namely, running outdoors. A standard cardiopulmonary exercise ramp test on a cycle ergometer was performed by a group of twenty 7-10-year-old children. The results were compared with a self-paced incremental running test performed using a mobile cardiopulmonary exercise measuring device in an outdoor park. The children were able to reach significantly higher values for most of the cardiopulmonary exercise variables during the outdoor test and higher. Whereas a plateau in [Formula: see text] was reached by 25% of the children during the outdoor test, only 75% were able to reach a reasonable VT2, let alone [Formula: see text], during the bicycle test. The heart rate at VT1, the O2-pulse, and the OUES were comparable between both tests. OUES was also positively correlated with [Formula: see text] in both tests. Testing children outdoors using a mobile cardiopulmonary exercise unit represents an alternative to standard exercise testing, but without the added problems of exercise equipment like treadmills or bicycles. It allows for individualized exercise testing with the aim of standardized testing durations instead of standardized testing protocols. The running speeds determined during the outdoor tests may then be used to develop age-adapted testing protocols for treadmill testing.