Also known as: Exercise stress test or cardiac stress test.
Duration: About 15 minutes
The exercise stress test is a diagnostic test that checks the heart’s blood flow under “stress”/physical activity. While either walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bicycle, the coronary arteries (the blood supply of the heart) are checked for any stenosis (narrowing) or blockages.
- To diagnose coronary artery disease (CAD), valvular heart disease, heart failure, and others.
- To diagnose irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
- To monitor the progress of certain treatments
Preparing for the test:
How it is performed:
- The electrodes will be connected by lead wires to an EKG monitor and the electric activity of the heart is recorded as “waves.”
- An inflatable cuff is then placed around your arm to monitor your blood pressure and heart rate.
- You will be asked to either start walking slowly on a treadmill or ride a stationary bicycle.
- The treadmill/bike gets faster and steeper every few minutes until the target heart rate is reached or until you experience any symptoms like chest pain, dizziness, etc.
- In some situations, this test is combined with an echocardiogram or a nuclear cardiac stress test.
After the test:
- After the test is completed, you may be asked to stand still and then lie down for some time to check your heart’s recovery.
- Your cardiologist will discuss the results and the next steps of action.
- You can continue your daily activities.
- Ask your cardiologist if you have any questions or concerns.
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