Treadmill Stress Test for Toddlers

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Key Personnel

  • Charles Berul, MD 
  • Megan Yeigh 
  • Justin Opfermann, MS 
  • Axel Krieger, PhD 
  • Megan Smith

Presently, exercise stress testing is designed for older children and adults, using bicycle or graded treadmill exercise. The equipment currently available is too small for toddlers and young children to safely utilize. There is not a current commercially available product for use in children younger than 6 years old, although there remains a clinical need for exercise stress testing at any age. Therefore, we designed and developed a prototype apparatus for young children, ages 2-6, to perform graded exercise stress testing. A safety harness feature was incorporated for patient safety and comfort. An age-appropriate video motivational program with movement sensors (using Microsoft Wii technology) was integrated into the system to encourage participation by children in this age group. Clinical trials in children ages 2.5 to 5 with normal hearts, followed by clinical testing in young children with structural congenital or inherited electrical heart diseases, are planned to begin in 2015 upon Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval.