When we want to determine how your heart responds to a workload, we conduct an exercise treadmill stress test. As your heart rate and blood pressure rise during this test, your heart requires more oxygen. The test shows if your blood supply to your heart is reduced, plus it can show other issues such as arrhythmias.
Here are details about our exercise stress testing at Premier Cardiology Consultants.
What Is Exercise Stress Testing?
When you want to see how your heart performs when it is under duress, the most common test is the exercise stress test. Also, known as an exercise electrocardiogram, treadmill test, graded exercise test, or stress EKG, this lets us know how your heart responds when it is pushed.
In the test, the patient is hooked up to an electrocardiogram (EKG) and then walks on a treadmill. As the rate and degree of difficulty of the treadmill are increased, your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, and your heart’s electrical activity (recorded by the EKG) are all measured.
Candidates For An Exercise Stress Test
At Premier Cardiology, we use stress tests for patients with certain symptoms. We want to find out:
- If your symptoms, such as chest pain or shortness of breath, are related to your heart
- If you have an irregular heartbeat
- How hard you can go if you are starting a new exercise program or entering a cardiac rehabilitation program
- If your heart disease treatments are working
- If you need other, more invasive tests, such as a coronary angiogram to detect narrowed arteries
What Is Monitored During A Stress Test?
We monitor your:
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
What Can I Expect From A Stress Test?
To prepare you for the test, our technician cleans 10 small spots on your chest where small, sticky patches with electrodes on them are attached. These are connected to the EKG that charts your heart’s electrical activity during the test.
What Should I Avoid Before A Stress Test?
Before a stress test, you should not have anything to eat or drink besides water. Avoid anything containing caffeine for at least 24 hours. Do not use any creams, lotions or oils on your chest.
Exercise Stress Test Process
To begin, we take measurements of your heart rate and blood pressure at rest.
Now you begin to walk on the treadmill. The rate of speed on the treadmill is increased, demanding a faster pace. Next, the treadmill is inclined to simulate walking up a hill. We monitor you continuously to make sure you are not overexerting yourself. All the while, we record the EKG data and monitor your heart rate and blood pressure to see how your heart is reacting to the exercise.
The exercise period will last from 7 to 12 minutes. After the most intense period, you walk slowly for a couple of minutes to cool down. We continue to monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate until your levels return to your resting numbers.
Stress Test Risks
A stress test is considered safe, and the complications are rare. Depending on the person and their health they could be at higher risks of complications including:
- Low blood pressure during or immediately after exercise
Schedule A Consultation
To learn more about exercise stress testing or to schedule an appointment at one of our offices in Lake Success, Forest Hills, or Richmond Hill, please call (516) 437-5600.