Exercise Stress Test
An exercise stress test helps your doctor determine how your heart performs under stress (during exercise). Your heart’s electrical activity and your blood pressure are measured while you exercise on a treadmill. To learn more about an exercise stress test, read this article or watch this video What is an Excercise Stress Test?
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR MY EXAM?
TWO DAYS BEFORE THE EXAM
Certain heart or blood pressure medications may need to be stopped 48 hours prior to the study. If you haven’t already done so, please let us know if you are on any of the medications on this list prior to starting the study.
ONE DAY BEFORE THE EXAM
- Avoid all foods or beverages that contain caffeine (e.g., coffee, tea, chocolate, pop) in the 24 hours before your test.
- Avoid medications that have caffeine (e.g., Tylenol 3, Anacin, Excedrin, No-Doz, Darvon, Caffregot, Fiorinal, etc.).
FOUR HOURS BEFORE THE EXAM
- Do not take anything by mouth – no smoking/vaping or use of Nitro spray, and don’t eat/drink/chew gum or tobacco.
- You may take small sips of water with prescribed medications.
- Wear exercise clothing, such as a short-sleeved loost shirt, shorts or sweatpants, and clean and dry running shoes. No one-piece dresses or one-piece undergarments please.
- Please do not wear perfumes, colognes, or other scented products.
- Continue taking all medications unless otherwise instructed by your physician.
- Please bring all medications, or a list of medications you are currently taking. If you are asthmatic, please ensure you bring your “puffer” medication with you.
- SPECIAL NOTE: If you take medication to manage your blood sugar, please do not take it on the morning of your test unless you have been given a late appointment time and are able to eat four hours before the test. If you cannot fast for four hours, eat a small meal and take your diabetes medication as prescribed, as long as there is at least two hours between eating and the time of your appointment. Remember to bring your insulin, oral medication, glucometer, and a snack.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING MY EXAM?
- A technologist will place electrodes (adhesive patches) on your chest. They will be attached to an electrocardiograph monitor (EKG) that charts your heart’s electrical activity during the test.
- A physician specializing in internal medicine will consult with you prior to the test. If you have any medical questions concerning your test, this is an ideal time to discuss them.
- Before you start the exercise portion of the study, the technologist will perform a resting EKG reading, measuring your resting heart rate and taking your blood pressure.
- As you start to walk, the treadmill will start out very slow, then speed and incline will gradually increase. The majority of the program is a walking pace. Some may end up jogging.
- The technologist will ask you how you are feeling throughout the test.
- Please tell your technologist if you feel short of breath, dizzy, lightheaded, or experience chest, arm or jaw pain, or discomfort, or if you have any other unusual symptoms.
- We will stop the test if you become too tired, experience chest pain, or when the technologist has enough information.
- After the exercise portion is over, you will need to sit and relax. We will continue to monitor you as your heart rate and blood pressure return to normal. You are then free to leave.
WHEN WILL I GET MY RESULTS?
The physician will interpret the complete EKG analysis and we will do our best to forward the results as well as a consultation report to your doctor by the next business day.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
This exam is covered under your Alberta Health Care Plan. It is not currently offered at our Saskatchewan clinic.