Cardiac Exercise Stress Test

Cardiac stress test

Cardiac Exercise Stress Test

A “stress test” reveals how well your heart copes with exercise. It is safe and non-invasive. There are various stress tests available, such as a stress ECG, stress echocardiogram and myocardial perfusion scan.

PATIENT INFORMATION: Before your appointment, please read our patient information page with essential information on our location, parking, payment options and more.

Why do I need a stress test?

You may have been sent for a stress test because you:

  • Are experiencing chest pain
  • Are suffering from shortness of breath
  • Need help developing a safe exercise plan
  • Need to check the effectiveness of specific procedures such as cardiac bypass surgery or coronary angioplasty
  • Have potential heart rhythm changes that need to be identified
  • Have a risk of heart disease (or other heart-related conditions) that needs to be checked
  • Require a return to work medical clearance after a heart attack or following angioplasty or a bypass operation
How long does it take?

Your stress test will usually take up to 15 minutes. However, allow up to 30 minutes to recover after the test.

Risks and complications

A cardiac exercise stress test is non-invasive and very safe. You’ll have a medical professional with you at all times, should you have any concerns.

Do I need to prepare for a stress test?
  • Bring along comfortable clothes and gym shoes to exercise in
  • Avoid eating, drinking alcohol or smoking for at least three hours before the test
  • Avoid caffeine for 24 hours before the test
  • Please bring your referral to the appointment
What happens during my stress test?

During your exercise stress test, you’ll be asked to cycle on an exercise bike or walk on a treadmill until you reach your target heart rate (85% of the maximum heart rate for your age). The incline, speed and exercise bike/treadmill resistance will increase every three minutes, up to 15 minutes in total.

If you become too tired, show symptoms of distress, have concerning blood pressure, develop chest pain, the ECG shows significant abnormalities or you have other symptoms that prevent you from continuing, the team will stop the test.

What happens next?

The cardiologist will discuss the results and further plans of action with you. He will also send the results to your GP and any other appropriate medical professionals who have your consent.

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