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Updated on March 4, 2021

Cardiac Heart Exercise Stress Test

When you perform a cardiac exercise stress test, you will be asked to walk on a treadmill to make your heart work harder.  Your heart condition will be measured using an electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood pressure cuff which will monitor your heart rhythm, heart rate, blood pressure and any signs of oxygen deprivation in the heart as you start the exercise.

The test will assess the heart function

  • at rest (before you start the exercise)
  • during exercise (during your exercise)
  • at the end of the test (at your maximum exercise tolerance)

Click to view BHF video on Heart Stress Test

The level of difficulty of the exercise will be gradually increased stepwise by increasing the speed and incline (steepness) of the treadmill until you feel too tired to continue or you have the following symptoms

  • Chest discomfort
  • Pain over your chest which can go up to your neck or down your left hand
  • Tiredness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting or dizziness

When should you do a stress test?

A stress test can help your doctor diagnose whether your have Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) when you may not have any symptoms but have high risk factors such as

Why is a Stress test done?

  • To diagnose Coronary Artery Disease
  • To diagnose any Abnormal Heart Rhythms
  • To assess your Heart Exercise tolerance

An Abnormal Stress Test suggests that you may have Coronary Artery Disease.  In this case, your doctor may ask you to perform additional tests such as a CT Coronary Angiogram or a Coronary Angiogram (which may be combined with Coronary Angioplasty (if necessary) or Electrophysiology Heart Test

How to prepare for a Cardiac Stress Test (usually takes 30-45 minutes)

  • Avoid eating or drinking (except plain water) up to 4 hours before your test
  • Avoid taking anything with caffeine up to 12 hours before your test
  • Ask your doctor whether you should stop any of your medications before your test
  • If you have asthma, bring along your inhaler to the test

Remember to keep your follow-up appointments and

do your heart & blood tests regularly to monitor your heart condition

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Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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