Normal values for cardiopulmonary exercise testing in children

Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2011 Feb;18(1):48-54. doi: 10.1097/HJR.0b013e32833cca4d.


Background: A reference set of data of normal values of newly developed cardiopulmonary parameters of exercise testing in an 8-18-year-old population is lacking.

Patients and methods: Cardiopulmonary exercise testing was performed in 175 healthy school children (8-18 years old). Continuous electrocardiography was performed, and minute ventilation, oxygen uptake (VO2), and carbon dioxide (CO2) production were measured continuously with a respiratory gas analysis system.

Results: Peak VO2/kg did not change with age, whereas the ventilation to carbon dioxide exhalation slope was lower in the older children. The decline in heart rate during recovery was much faster in the youngest children. Linear regression analysis showed a significant effect of age on: peak work rate (WRpeak) and WRpeak/kg, ventilation to carbon dioxide exhalation slope, heart rate recovery, and VO2peak (boys only) (All P < 0.001). The ΔVO2/ΔWR slope remained constant throughout all age groups.

Conclusion: This study comprehensively provides a reference set of data for the most important cardiopulmonary variables that can be obtained during exercise testing in children.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Bicycling
  • Breath Tests
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Electrocardiography / standards
  • Exercise Test / standards*
  • Exercise Tolerance
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Pulmonary Ventilation
  • Recovery of Function
  • Reference Values
  • Time Factors