Heart Institute


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