Exercise Stress Test
About your test or treatment
An exercise stress test is a common procedure that your doctor might use to diagnose coronary heart disease. It shows how your heart performs during exercise and usually involves walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike at increasing levels of difficulty. During the exercise, your heart rate and blood pressure are closely monitored.
What to expect during your test or treatment
- The exercise stress test usually lasts about one hour, but the exercise portion is only about seven to 12 minutes.
- A technologist will clean 10 small areas of your chest and attach adhesive electrodes to these areas. The electrodes are attached by thin wires that connect to a heart monitor to track your heart's electrical activity during the test.
- If you are a man, your chest may be partially shaved to help the electrodes stick.
- You also will wear a blood pressure cuff around your arm so that the technologist can track your blood pressure during the test.
- You will then begin to exercise by walking on a treadmill or pedaling a stationary bike. The degree of difficulty will gradually increase, and you will continue to exercise very hard until you feel exhausted.
- Your blood pressure and your heart's electrical activity will be monitored before, during and after the exercise.
- It is normal for your heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure and perspiration to increase during the test, but you should tell your technologist if you feel chest, arm or jaw pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, or any other unusual symptoms. If such symptoms persist, the test will be stopped.
What to expect after your test or treatment
- After your exercise, you will walk gently or pedal slowly for a couple of minutes to cool down.
- Your heart rate, electrical activity and blood pressure will continue to be monitored until the levels are normal. You may be asked to lie down or sit quietly if necessary.
- As soon as your heart returns to normal, you may eat, drink and resume all regular activities.
- Your doctor will discuss the results of your test with you at a scheduled time.
If you have any questions about your care after you return home, call your physician's office. Thank you again for choosing Norton Heart Care. It is a pleasure to serve you.
This test or treatment is offered at these facilities: