What is a stress test?
A stress test lets doctors see how your heart works when it’s under stress, such as when you exercise. Many heart problems are easier for your doctor to find when your heart is working hard.
Why would I need a stress test?
How is a stress test done?
You'll wear a blood pressure cuff on your arm
You'll walk on a treadmill or pedal on an exercise bike, picking up speed over time
As you exercise, doctors will watch your ECG and check your blood pressure often
If you can't exercise enough to do the test, doctors will give you a medicine to make your heart beat faster and stronger
Doctors will stop the test when:
Your heart rate nears the maximum recommended rate for your age
Your symptoms get too uncomfortable — you may have chest pain or feel like you can’t catch your breath
Your ECG or blood pressure readings show something abnormal
Sometimes instead of having an ECG during the stress test, you may have echocardiography Echocardiography and Other Ultrasound Procedures or radionuclide imaging Radionuclide Scanning (Nuclear Scan) . These tests also let your doctor see how your heart reacts to stress. These tests are more accurate but more expensive.
Are there any side effects to a stress test?
Usually you'll exercise hard enough to feel strain and puff for breath. If you have a heart problem, you might feel chest pain or become aware of your heart beats during the test. Although rare, you could have a heart attack Heart Attack during the test. But your doctor will monitor you during the test to be ready for any problems.