Exercise stress testing is the evaluation of ECG changes during exercise. The ECG is known to change during exercise both physiologically and in disease states.
Exercise testing primarily assesses the physical capacity of the body. Simultaneous ECG monitoring and blood pressure measurement during exercise allow assessment of cardiovascular fitness.
Preparation for the exercise test
Prior to the exercise test the patient should not:
- Eat a meal
- Drink strong coffee and tea
Procedure for the exercise test
The test is performed on an electric treadmill or a bicycle ergometer. The patient is fitted with ECG electrodes on the chest and a blood pressure cuff on the arm.
In the case of a treadmill – the test consists of gradually increasing the speed of the belt, as well as the angle of the treadmill. As a result, the patient feels as if he or she is walking quickly uphill.
In the case of the bicycle, the patient must maintain a constant speed with an increasing load. This gives the impression of going uphill.
The test ends when the age-appropriate heart rate is reached. The test is stopped earlier if there are any symptoms or changes in the ECG which indicate that the test should be stopped.
The test lasts several minutes.
Indications for the exercise test
- Diagnosis of changes in ECG
- Assessment of physical fitness
- Assessment of cardiovascular fitness
- cardiac rhythm disorders
- Ischemic heart disease.
All ECG tests are performed on doctor’s orders.