Exercise Stress Test

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photograph exercise stress test 1

Exercise Stress Test

A stress test, sometimes called a treadmill test or exercise test, helps a doctor find out how well your heart handles work. As your body works harder during the test, it requires more oxygen, so the heart must 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.A person taking the testis hooked up to equipment to monitor the heart.walks slowly in place on a treadmill. Then the speed is increased for a faster pace and the treadmill is tilted to produce the effect of going up a small hill.may be asked to breathe into a tube for a couple of minutes.can stop the test at any time if needed.afterwards will sit or lie down to have their heart and blood pressure checked.Heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), and how tired you feel are monitored during the test.Healthy people who take the test are at very little risk. It’s about the same as if they walk fast or jog up a big hill. Medical professionals should be present in case something unusual happens during the test.A physician may recommend an exercise stress test to:Diagnose coronary artery diseaseDiagnose a possible heart-related cause of symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath or lightheadednessDetermine a safe level of exerciseCheck the effectiveness of procedures done to improve coronary artery circulation in patients with coronary artery diseasePredict risk of dangerous heart-related conditions such as a heart attack.Depending on the results of the exercise stress test, the physician may recommend more tests such as a nuclear stress test or cardiac catheterization.Related AHA publicationsWhat Is a Stress Test?This content was last reviewed July 2015.
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Exercise Stress Test

The level of mechanical stress is progressively increased by adjusting the difficulty (steepness of the slope) and speed. The test administrator or attending physician examines the symptoms and blood pressure response. With use of ECG, the test is most commonly called a cardiac stress test but is known by other names, such as exercise testing, stress testing treadmills, exercise tolerance test, stress test or stress test ECG.
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Exercise Stress Test

An exercise stress test is primarily used to help your doctor determine if your heart receives enough oxygen and proper blood flow when it needs it most, such as when you are exercising. It can be ordered for people who have been experiencing chest pains or other symptoms of coronary heart disease. An exercise stress test may also be used to help determine your level of health, especially if you are starting a new exercise program. This allows your doctor to learn what level of exercise you can handle safely. If you are a smoker over 40 years old, or if you have other risk factors for heart disease, you should talk to your doctor to see if an exercise stress test is a good idea for you.
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The exercise stress test — also called a stress test, exercise electrocardiogram, treadmill test, graded exercise test, or stress ECG — is a test used to provide information about how the heart responds to exertion. It usually involves walking on a treadmill or pedaling a stationary bike at increasing levels of difficulty, while your electrocardiogram, heart rate, and blood pressure are monitored.
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A stress test, also called an exercise stress test, gathers information about how your heart works during physical activity. Because exercise makes your heart pump harder and faster than usual, an exercise stress test can reveal problems within your heart that might not be noticeable otherwise.
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Is this trend against stress testing healthy for older men? We asked Dr. Deepak Bhatt, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of cardiology for the VA Boston Healthcare System, for insight into what an exercise stress test can and cannot tell you about your heart. With caveats, the procedure still has a valuable role to play in diagnosing worrisome symptoms like chest pain—especially in older men with risk factors for heart disease. “An exercise stress test is not 100% accurate—no medical test is,” Dr. Bhatt says. “But it helps decide what the next step should be.”
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There are different types of these. The exercise stress test — also known as an exercise electrocardiogram, treadmill test, graded exercise test, or stress EKG — is used most often. It lets your doctor know how your heart responds to being pushed. You’ll walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bike. It’ll get more difficult as you go. Your electrocardiogram, heart rate, and blood pressure will be tracked throughout.
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Why the Test is Performed Reasons why an exercise stress test may be performed include:You are having chest pain (to check for coronary artery disease, narrowing of the arteries that feed the heart muscle).Your angina is getting worse or is happening more often.You have had a heart attack.You have had angioplasty or heart bypass surgery.You are going to start an exercise program and you have heart disease or certain risk factors, such as diabetes.To identify heart rhythm changes that may occur during exercise.To further test for a heart valve problem (such as aortic valve or mitral valve stenosis). There may be other reasons why your provider asks for this test.
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A stress test, sometimes called a treadmill test or exercise test, helps a doctor find out how well your heart handles work. As your body works harder during the test, it requires more oxygen, so the heart must 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.
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Although the tide has turned against exercise stress testing of otherwise healthy men concerned about their heart risk, guidelines say that a stress test could be “considered” in a man who is older and relatively inactive but embarking on a vigorous new exercise program. “In that case I would recommend a stress test,” Dr. Bhatt says.
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Pharmacologic agents such as Adenosine, Lexiscan (Regadenoson), or dipyridamole is generally used when a patient cannot achieve adequate work level with treadmill exercise, or has poorly controlled hypertension or left bundle branch block. However, an exercise stress test may provide more information about exercise tolerance than a pharmacologic stress test.
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Reasons why an exercise stress test may be performed include:You are having chest pain (to check for coronary artery disease, narrowing of the arteries that feed the heart muscle).Your angina is getting worse or is happening more often.You have had a heart attack.You have had angioplasty or heart bypass surgery.You are going to start an exercise program and you have heart disease or certain risk factors, such as diabetes.To identify heart rhythm changes that may occur during exercise.To further test for a heart valve problem (such as aortic valve or mitral valve stenosis). There may be other reasons why your provider asks for this test.
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Normal Results A normal test will most often mean that you were able to exercise as long as or longer than most people of your age and gender. You also did not have symptoms or concerning changes in blood pressure or your ECG.The meaning of your test results depends on the reason for the test, your age, and your history of heart and other medical problems.It may be hard to interpret the results of an exercise-only stress test in some people.
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A normal test will most often mean that you were able to exercise as long as or longer than most people of your age and gender. You also did not have symptoms or concerning changes in blood pressure or your ECG.The meaning of your test results depends on the reason for the test, your age, and your history of heart and other medical problems.It may be hard to interpret the results of an exercise-only stress test in some people.
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Prior to your test, your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about your complete medical history. At this point, you should tell your doctor about your symptoms, especially any chest pains or shortness of breath. You should also tell your doctor about any conditions or symptoms that may make exercising difficult, such as stiff joints from arthritis. Finally, you should let your doctor know if you have diabetes, because exercise affects blood sugar. If you do have diabetes, your doctor may want to monitor your blood glucose levels during the exercise test as well. The day of the test, be sure to dress in loose, comfortable clothing. Something that is light and breathable is best. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes, such as athletic sneakers. Your doctor will give you complete instructions about how to prepare. These might include: Avoid eating, smoking, or drinking caffeinated beverages for three hours before the test Stop taking certain medications Report any chest pains or other complications you notice on the day of the test You should only stop taking medications if your doctor tells you to do so.

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