What is a stress test?
A stress test is used to determine how well your heart responds to physical activity. In a controlled setting, members of the cardiac care team at Baptist Health will monitor your heart rate as it rises through exercise. This test is commonly used to reveal heart problems that may not be apparent when the body is at rest.
Other names for the stress test include:
- Exercise test
- Exercise tolerance test
- Treadmill test
- Stress EKG
- Stress ECG
Your doctor may recommend a stress test to:
- determine your likelihood of having coronary artery disease
- evaluate the cause of chest pains
- identify abnormal heart rhythms
- evaluate the effectiveness of your cardiac treatment plan
- help you develop a safe exercise program
Your doctor may recommend a stress test if you are experiencing symptoms that suggest a heart problem, including:
- Chest pain
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or confusion
- Heart palpitations
- Rapid pulse
- Shortness of breath
- Weakness, fatigue or a decline in the ability to exercise
What happens during a stress test?
During a stress test, electrodes (small, plastic patches that adhere to the skin) are placed on the body in standardized locations. The electrodes are then connected to a machine by lead wires. You will be required to walk on a treadmill or cycle on a stationary bike, until a target heart rate is achieved. Your target heart rate is based on your age, height, and weight. The electrical activity of your heart is then measured, interpreted, and printed out. The results of the stress test help your doctor identify and diagnose heart disease.
What are the risks of a stress test?
Stress tests are considered safe. They are completed in a controlled environment under the supervision of a trained medical professional. On rare occasions, a patient may experience chest pain, collapsing, fainting, heart attack, or irregular heartbeats.
To learn more about stress tests, or other cardiac care exams, request an appointment with one of our experts today.