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International Journal of Pediatrics
Volume 2010, Article ID 791980, 9 pages
Review Article

Exercise Testing and Prescription in Patients with Congenital Heart Disease

1Department of Pediatric Cardiology, Leiden University Medical Center, Albinusdreef 2, P.O. Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands
2Child Development and Exercise Center, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, UMC Utrecht, 3508 AB Utrecht, The Netherlands

Received 14 January 2010; Revised 6 May 2010; Accepted 27 July 2010

Academic Editor: Patricia A. Nixon

Copyright © 2010 A. D. J. ten Harkel and T. Takken. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The present paper provides a review of the literature regarding exercise testing, exercise capacity, and the role of exercise training in patients with congenital heart disease (CHD). Different measures of exercise capacity are discussed, including both simple and more advanced exercise parameters. Different groups of patients, including shunt lesions, pulmonary valvar stenosis, patients after completion of Fontan circulation, and patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension are discussed separately in more detail. It has been underscored that an active lifestyle, taking exercise limitations and potential risks of exercise into account is of utmost importance. Increased exercise capacity in these patients is furthermore correlated with an improvement of objective and subjective quality of life.