Exercise Stress Testing
An exercise stress test is used to determine how well your heart responds during times when it's working its hardest. During the test, you'll be asked to exercise — typically on a treadmill — while you're hooked up to an electrocardiogram (EKG) machine. This allows your doctor to monitor your cardiac status.
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:
- You must arrive 20 minutes prior to testing as there are patient intake forms
- PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THE FOLLOWING MEDICATION(S) THE NIGHT BEFORE OR THE MORNING OF YOUR APPOINTMENT: Acebutolol, Atenolol, Bisoprolol, Carvedilol, Labetalol, Metoprolol, Nadolol, Pindolol, Propranolol, Sotalol, Timolol
- Please take all OTHER medication as prescribed
- Please bring running shoes, a loose t-shirt (optional for men), comfortable pants/shorts, for women please wear a regular bra instead of a sports bra
- If applicable please remove the hair from your chest and stomach prior to coming in as we must place electrodes onto the skin
- No caffeinated products the day of your stress test (coffee including decaf, pop, tea, chocolate)
- No smoking of any kind the day of your test
- Please bring a list of all current medications and/or vitamins, Alberta Health Care Card and photo I.D
- You may have a light meal, water juice or milk prior to your appointment
- Please refrain from wearing any powders, body oils or perfume (deodorant is fine)
- Please bring a bottle of water for before and after 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.