Cardiac stress tests are a way to detect heart and circulatory problems such as irregular heartbeat, partially blocked arteries, or heart attack risk that might not be detected while a patient is a rest. The stress test is recommended for people with risk factors like hypertension, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, or family history of heart problems.
Stress testing may be offered to anyone who experiences chest pain or other heart-related symptoms. The test is also used to examine patients with known heart disease, a recent bypass or other surgery in order to determine treatment's effectiveness or the progression of the disease.
How does the cardiac stress test work?
Cardiac stress testing involves taking electrocardiograph (ECG) and blood pressure readings while a person exercises on a treadmill or stationary bike. The activity level starts low, at a slow walk, but increases every three minutes until the person is exhausted, heart rate reaches a predetermined level, or symptoms manifest.