An exercise stress test shows your heart's response to exercise. These procedures are requested to evaluate the blood flow to your heart, your exercise tolerance or the presence of a heart rhythm disturbance.

The test records your heartbeat and blood pressure while you walk on a treadmill.

Before the test

  • Be sure to mention the medications you take and ask if it is okay to take them before the test
  • Avoid food and drinks containing caffeine
  • Do not eat, drink, smoke or have any caffeine for 3 hours before the test

What to wear

  • Wear comfortable walking or running shoes
  • Wear a shirt, blouse or sweater that you can remove easily
  • You may be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up; women may wear a gown

During your test

  • Chest skin will be cleaned with alcohol and shaved if necessary
  • Skin will be abraded to improve conduction
  • Electrodes will be placed on your chest to monitor heart rhythm
  • Blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm
  • You will be instructed on how to walk on the treadmill
  • Speed and elevation of treadmill increases every three minutes
  • Exercise as long as possible or until you are asked to stop

After the test

  • You can resume your normal activity, unless otherwise instructed
  • Results will be sent to your primary care physician