A stress test, sometimes called a treadmill test or exercise test, helps physicians find out how well the heart handles stress. As the body works harder during the test, it requires more oxygen and the heart has to pump more blood. The test can show if the blood supply is reduced in the arteries that supply the heart. It also helps doctors know the kind and level of exercise appropriate for a patient.
How should you prepare and what to expect:
- Patient is hooked up to equipment to monitor the heart
- He/she is made to walk slowly in place on a treadmill, on which the speed is increased for a faster pace and which is tilted to produce the effect of going up a small hill.
- He/she may be asked to breathe into a tube for a couple of minutes.
- He/she can stop the test at any time if necessary.
- Afterwards he/she will be made to sit or lie down to have the heart and blood pressure checked.
- Heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, electrocardiogram (E.C.G. or E.K.G.), and how tired one feels are monitored during the test
- There's very little risk in taking the test in healthy persons - no more than if a person walks fast or jogs up a big hill.