Exercise Stress Test

What is an Exercise Stress Test?

Exercise stress test (EST) is designed to assess how the heart, lungs and blood vessels respond to increasing workload (exercise). It can help provide information about the level to which the patient can exercise, if there are any problems affecting the ability to exercise, and how the patient’s condition changes with exercise.  It is mainly indicated to evaluate the blood flow to the heart muscle and to look f or blockages in the arteries supplying the heart with blood. 

Why do I need an exercise stress test?

  • The doctor may suggest that you have an exercise stress test to determine:

  • Risk of  Coronary Artery Disease (CAD),  a  possible heart-related cause of symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath or lightheadedness

  • Determine a safe level of exercise

  • Predict risk of heart-related conditions such as a heart attack.

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the patient’s cardiac treatment plan.

  • Evaluate for exercise induced heart rhythm abnormalities

What should I expect during the exercise stress test?

  • Stress testing is done in the office in the Stress Lab. 

  • A stress lab technician will apply electrodes to your chest.  The electrodes are attached to the ECG/Stress machine.

  • Before you start exercising, the technician will perform a resting EKG, measure your resting heart rate and take your blood pressure.

  • You will exercise on a treadmill. The lab personnel will ask you to start exercising and will gradually increase the intensity of exercise. You will be asked to continue exercising until you are at your maximal exercise tolerance.

  • Your blood pressure and heart rate are monitored while you are exercising.

  • After the test, you will walk slowly for a few minutes to cool down. Your heart rate, blood pressure and EKG will continue to be monitored until the levels are returning to normal.

  • An exercise stress takes approximately 30 minutes and you will receive the results at the time of the test.

    For Testing Preparation, see patient instructions.  


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