A stress test is a diagnostic test that collects and records information about how a patient’s heart responds to physical exertion. The test usually involves exercises such as walking on a treadmill, or pedaling a stationary bicycle at varying levels of difficulty. The patient’s heart rate and blood pressure are monitored to show if there is a lack of blood supply through the arteries that go to the heart.
Doctors can use the stress test to:
- Determine if the blood flow to the brain is sufficient during times of exertion or increasing activity
- Evaluate the effectiveness of heart medication to control anginas and ischemia
- Determine the probability of coronary heart disease, and the need for further evaluation
- Identify abnormal heart rhythms
- Develop a suitable health programme or recommend the right kind and level of exercise
A stress test is also called exercise stress test, exercise electrocardiogram, treadmill test, graded exercise test, or stress ECG.
Services & Procedures Offered
The doctor may order a stress test as part of a health screening or when patient has symptoms, signs or risks that are suggestive of coronary artery diseases. A trained medical technician who will conduct the stress test will place 10 small pads on the chest to monitor the heart using an electrocardiogram (ECG), and measure the blood pressure.
During the stress test, patient will be asked to walk on a treadmill at a brisk pace for about 15 minutes and attempt to reach a certain heart rate (based on the age). Every three minutes, the treadmill will increase in speed and incline. The trained medical technician will supervise patient at all times and patient will not be forced to do more than a patient safely can.
Please allow about 45 minutes for the entire visit. To prepare for stress test:
- Abstain from a heavy meal four hours prior to the test – patient may have a light meal of juice and toast
- Wear comfortable walking shoes and a two-piece outfit as patient will be asked to undress from the waist up and given a hospital gown to wear
- Do not smoke or have caffeine for three hours prior to the test
- Patient is advised to bring a list of current medications
- Patient should ask the doctor whether should take the regular medications prior to the test