Exercise Stress Testing
A stress test, sometimes called a treadmill test or exercise test, helps a doctor find out how well your heart handles work. As your body works harder during the test, it requires more oxygen, so the heart must pump more blood. The test can show if the blood supply is reduced in the arteries that supply the heart. It also helps doctors know the kind and level of exercise appropriate for a patient.
A person taking the test
- is hooked up to equipment to monitor the heart.
- walks slowly in place on a treadmill. Then the speed is increased for a faster pace and the treadmill is tilted to produce the effect of going up a small hill.
- may be asked to breathe into a tube for a couple of minutes.
- can stop the test at any time if needed.
- afterwards will sit or lie down to have their heart and blood pressure checked.
Heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), and how tired you feel are monitored during the test.
Healthy people who take the test are at very little risk. It's about the same as if they walk fast or jog up a big hill. Medical professionals should be present in case something unusual happens during the test.
A physician may recommend an exercise stress test to:
- Diagnose coronary artery disease
- Diagnose a possible heart-related cause of symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath or lightheadedness
- Determine a safe level of exercise
- Check the effectiveness of procedures done to improve coronary artery circulation in patients with coronary artery disease.
- Predict risk of dangerous heart-related conditions such as a heart attack.
(adapted from www.heart.org)
How to prepare for the test:
- Do not do any strenuous activity for 12 hours before the test
- Do not eat, drink, or smoke for 2 hours before the test
- Wear comfortable shoes and comfortable clothes for the test
This information is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor; PulseAir disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on this information.