What is an exercise stress test?
An exercise stress test is used to measure the effect of exercise on your heart.
Why is this test performed?
Reasons why an exercise stress test may be performed include:
-Chest pain (rule out coronary artery disease)
-History of heart attack
-Angioplasty or heart bypass surgery
-To identify heart rhythm changes that may occur during exercise
-To further test for a heart valve problem
-To evaluate your heart before surgery or before beginning an exercise program
How is this test performed?
The technician will place 10 electrodes to your chest. These patches are attached to an ECG monitor that follows the electrical activity of your heart during the test.
You will walk on a treadmill or pedal on an exercise bicycle. Gradually, you will be asked to walk or pedal faster and with an incline. While you exercise, your heart is measured with an electrocardiogram (ECG). The test will continue until:
-You reach a target heart rate
-You develop chest pain or a change in blood pressure that is concerning
-CG changes suggest that your hear muscle is not getting enough oxygen
-You are too tired or have symptoms that prohibit you from continuing
You will be monitored for 10-15 minutes after exercising, or until your heart rate returns to baseline. The total time of the test is around 60 minutes.
How do I prepare for an exercise stress test?
Before your exercise stress test, make sure to:
-Wear comfortable shoes and clothing that allow for exercise
-Avoid caffeine or alcohol prior the day of the test
-Avoid food and drink three hours prior to the test