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Submaximal exercise test

Your child is scheduled for a submaximal exercise test at:

Children's - Minneapolis
Special Diagnostics – 1st floor
2525 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404
Phone: 612-813-6966

Date: ____________________________

Test time: ____________________________

Check-in time: ____________________________

Please bring comfortable running shoes for your child, a list of your child's medicines, your insurance card and picture ID. If you have questions about your insurance coverage for these services, or any special referral requirements, please contact your insurance company directly. They will advise you about your plan's coverage.

What is a submaximal exercise test?

It is a painless, safe breathing test that can help the doctor decide if your child has exercise-induced asthma (EIA). Then the doctor will be able to determine what type of medicine or exercise program will help your child.

Can I be with my child during the test?

In most cases parents do not stay in the room during testing. It has been found that most children perform the test better when done one-on-one with the technician.

What should we do before the test?

Read and discuss this information with your child. Tell your child that the test does not hurt. Explain how the test is done, especially what your child will see, hear, and feel. Answer as many questions as you can.

Your child's medicines will be reviewed with you when you schedule the test. If your child is taking medicines for breathing, they must be stopped as directed, or they can interfere with the test. (See the chart at the end of this sheet.) However, if your child develops an upper respiratory infection the week of testing, give the prescribed medicine and call Pulmonary Diagnostics to reschedule the test.

How is the test done?

The technician will teach your child a few different ways of breathing. First, your child's baseline lung function will be tested. During this part of the test your child will blow into a tube, using effort as if blowing out birthday candles.

Next, your child will walk on a treadmill. The speed of the treadmill will slowly increase to a safe and comfortable jog/run.

After jogging/running on the treadmill, your child will repeat the first set of breathing tests to check for any change with exercise.

Your child will then be given a bronchodilator (medicine that helps open the small airways into the lungs). The medicine is given either as an inhaler or a nebulizer treatment. Some people notice a faster heart rate for a short time after taking the medicine. The technician will then have your child repeat the first breathing test to check for any change with the bronchodilator.

What can I expect after the test?

After the test, your child can take his or her prescribed medicines again. Your doctor will discuss the test results with you.


This sheet is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call Pulmonary Diagnostics at 612-813-6827.

Stopping medicines before the submaximal exercise test

If your child is taking this medicine Stop giving it this long before the test

quick-acting bronchodilators, such as:

  • albuterol (Proventil®, Ventolin®, ProAir)
  • levalbuterol (Xopenex®)
  • pirbuterol (Maxair®)
at least 8 hours

long-acting bronchodilators, such as:

  • albuterol (Proventil® Repetabs, Volmax®)
  • fomoterol (Foradil®)
  • salmeterol (Serevent®)
  • fluticisone / salmeterol products (Advair®)
  • budesonide / formoterol products (Symbicort®)
24 hours

inhaled corticosteroids, such as:

  • beclomethasone (QVAR®)
  • budesonide (Pulmicort®)
  • fluticisone (Flovent®)
  • mometasone (Azmanex®)
  • triamcinolone (Azmacort®)
24 hours
  • cromolyn sodium (Intal®)
48 hours

antihistamines, such as:

  • cetirizine (Zytrec®)
  • fexofenadine (Allegra®)
  • loratadine (Claritin®)
24 hours
  • theophylline (many brands)
12 hours
  • extended release theophylline
48 hours
  • ipratoprium bromide (Atrovent®)
  • ipratoprium/albuterol (Combivent®)
24 hours

Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Patient/Family Education
2525 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Last reviewed 8/2015 ©Copyright

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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