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Exercise Stress test

An Exercise Stress test helps to pinpoint suspected coronary artery disease (ischemia) or arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats, tachycardia or bradycardia). An Exercise Stress test records your heart's response to the capacity of exercise on a treadmill. Our technologist measures your heart’s electrical activity, blood pressure and heart rate while you are walking.

Symptoms

The physician might order the Exercise Stress test (EST) if you complain of chest pains, tightness or pressure in chest area, upper back pain (especially if it reflects to the left side of the body or left shoulder and arm, or to the neck and jaw), shortness of breath with or without activity, dizzy spells, or chronic fatigue. It might be also recommended if you are experiencing irregular heartbeats, very fast or slow heartbeats, palpitations, unusual throbbing or fluttering sensations in the heart.

Preparation for the procedure

Wear comfortable clothing and running (or flat) shoes. Do not take coffee or Coca-Cola 2 hours prior to your appointment. Do not forget to bring your health card and a list of medications with you.

Procedure

Our technologist will prepare your skin and attach electrodes on your chest area to connect you to the computer. It monitors electrical activity of your heat. You will be asked to walk on the treadmill. You start walking; gradually the speed of the treadmill is increased so you have to walk faster. This will help your doctor see how your heart handles progressively greater challenges. The test continues until your heart is beating as fast as it safely can (you reach your peak exercise capacity, given your age and condition), or as long as you are able. It is generally a safe procedure, although it may trigger chest pain or irregular heart rhythms. Be sure to let our technologist know if you are feeling any discomfort or other symptoms. The length of time for the test is usually between 15 and 30 minutes.

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