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The Exercise Stress Test is a test designed to observe the electrical activity of your heart under the stress of exercising on a treadmill. This test can detect changes in your ECG in response to an increasing exercise load, and helps your provider detect signs of heart problems, such as a decreased amount of blood flow to certain areas of your heart muscle. During the test, you are observed for changes in your heart rate or rhythm and changes in your blood pressure.

Preparation:

  • Allow plenty of time for the test preparation, completion and recovery period.​
  • Wear comfortable attire and walking or running shoes.
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal for at least two (2) hours before the test. Avoid stimulants like coffee, tea and alcohol before the test.
  • Take your medications prior to the test as directed by your provider or the person scheduling the test for your provider.

During the test:

  • Your chest area will be cleaned and shaved if needed, and sticky pads (electrodes) will be applied to your chest, connected to wire and cables and to the machine.
  • You will walk on an exercise treadmill for a period of time determined by your response to the test.
  • While you are exercising, your heart rate and rhythm and your blood pressure will be recorded every 3 minutes.
  • Tell the technician if you feel that you need to stop walking at any time during the test.
  • Electrocardiograms (ECG’s) will be recorded throughout the test.

After the test:

  • Your heart rate and rhythm and blood pressure will be monitored for 5 –10 minutes after you complete the exercise portion of the test. This is called the recovery period.
  • At the end of the test, the electrodes will be removed from your chest.
  • The completed test and computer report will be sent to your provider to review.
  • You may resume your usual activities after the test unless instructed otherwise.
  • If you are seeing your provider the same day, they will tell you about the stress test at that time.
  • If the stress test is done on a day that you don’t see your provider, the nurse will contact you with information about the results after the provider reviews it, usually 7-14 days.