Stress test, exercise tolerance test
To help in the evaluation of possible coronary artery disease.
To determine safe levels of exercise and exercise guidelines, especially if you have angina or other symptoms of coronary disease or heart failure.
To help in the evaluation of heart health following a heart attack, coronary angioplasty and bypass surgery, and to help detect ischemia (episodes of insufficient oxygen supply to the heart muscle).
How does it works
After being connected to leads for an ECG you will exercise on a treadmill or stationary bicycle until your heart rate reachers a certain level, or until you are exhausted or develop symptoms such as chest pain or dizziness.
Your blood pressure is monitored periodically throughout the test.
To get more data about the state of your heart and coronary arteries, radioactive isotopes may be injected through an intravenous (IV) line, and a gamma scintillation camera may be used to follow their uptake into the heart muscle; or an electrocardiogram may be obtained.
In general, you shouldn't eat or smoke for at least two hours before the test, but follow your doctor's specific instructions.
Wear comfortable walking or running shoes or sneakers, and shorts or loose-fitting exercise pants. Women may wear a loose-fitting top that opens in the front.
A physician or other health care provider should be present with a defibrillator and other emergency equipment.
ECG leads are attached to your chest.
Your blood pressure is measured, and the blood pressure cuff is left in place to allow regular blood pressure measurements during the test.
Your heart rate, ECG pattern, and blood pressure will be monitored as you exercise at increasing levels of intensity.
The test should be stopped immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms:
An unsteady gait, mental confusion, glazed expression, grayish or cold, clammy skin--all signs of cardiac insufficiency.
Dizziness or fainting.
A drop in blood pressure.
Patients with orthopedic problems, arthritis, or other conditions that make it impossible to exercise on a treadmill or cycle may be given a drug to increase their heart rate
After the test
Depending on the test results, you should rest until your blood pressure, heart rate, and other vital signs return to normal.
If there are no complications, the ECG leads are removed, and you can resume normal activities.
Factors affecting results
Certain medications such as antianginal drugs may alter the results by increasing your exercise tolerance. These drugs may be discontinued for a day or so beforehand, unless the test is meant to assess their effectiveness.
Medications such as digitalis can produce a fasle positive or an abnormal, result.
A doctor studies the ECG tracings, and also assesses your performance and symptoms during the test.
This test offers a simple, noninvasive method of assessing heart function during vigorous activity, and is generally safe when performed in the proper setting.
It can disclose or confirm abnormalities, such as silent ischemia, that do not produce symptoms, providing a safe and relatively inexpensive (albeit less accurate than exercise nuclear scan or electrocardiogram) method of diagnosis and assessment. It is often the first approach to diagnosis after a routine office evaluation and ECG.
Results are often unreliable: 15% to 40% of exercise stress tests produce false-positive results. Women are more likely than men to have a false-positive exercise stress test.
Patients with an abnormal resting ECG usually shouldn't undergo an exercise stress test.
Good Luck and have a safe Stress test
The Cardiac centre staff