Health Library

Pulmonary Function Test: Exercise Induced Asthma Test

What Is an Exercise Induced Asthma Test?

The Division of Pulmonary Medicine at Cincinnati Children's performs lung function tests such as exercise induced asthma testing.

Exercise induced asthma tests measure airway reactivity to exercise. The airway is made up of many small tubes that carry air in and out of lungs. During exercise, the airways may become narrow in patients with exercise induced asthma, making it harder to breathe.

About the Test

Your child will blow into a spirometer to measure how fast he or she is able to move air in and out of the lungs.

After successful completion, your child will run on a treadmill for four to eight minutes to achieve maximum heart rate.

Your child will be placed on an oxygen and heart rate monitor to allow continuous monitoring. While running, he or she will be asked to rate on a scale of 1-10 the level of difficulty breathing.

After exercise, your child will continue to perform a minimum of two spirometry maneuvers every five minutes for 30 minutes. If there is a significant change in your child's lung function, he or she will be treated with a bronchodilator before discharge.

The test takes about 1½ to 2 hours. Timing includes explanation and practice testing.

Preparing Your Child for the Test

  • You must be able to follow directions, maintain a tight seal around a mouthpiece and be able to pedal a bicycle, run or walk briskly on a treadmill in order to perform the test.
  • Wear loose fitting clothes and comfortable GYM shoes for walking, pedaling or running.
  • No intense exercise on the day of the test.
  • No LARGE meals within two hours before the test. However, you may drink clear liquids (like water or apple juice) and eat a SMALL snack (fruit or granola bar) up to one hour before the test. It is recommended that you DO NOT go longer than six hours without eating.
  • Avoid caffeinated products like coffee, tea and cola drinks; chocolate; added sugar; over-the-counter cold/sinus medicine, alcoholic drinks; and smoking for 24 hours before the test.

For optimal testing, it is recommended that certain medications NOT be taken prior to the test for the time periods indicated (However, if you have concerns about not taking these medications, please contact your doctor).

Possible Side Effects

There are no side effects and your child may resume normal activities after testing.

Last Updated 08/2019