Exercise Stress Test

An exercise stress test, also known as an exercise treadmill, is a diagnostic test used to evaluate how well the heart handles exercise.

The test is often used to examine symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath or fatigue with exercise. It helps set exercise regimens, evaluate the effectiveness of treatment in some patients and consider the need for further cardiac diagnostic tests in others.

For the test, electrodes are placed on the patient's chest. A blood pressure cuff will be placed on one arm and is inflated periodically, checking the body's response to increased physical demand.

Patients walk on a treadmill while the heart's electrical activity is measured and recorded with an electrocardiogram. Unless complications arise, the patient continues walking until a target heart rate is achieved. The patient will continue to be monitored after exercise until the heart rate returns to normal.

There are few risks associated with an exercise stress test, although some patients may experience chest pain or feel faint. Medical professionals will be present during the test.

Exercise Stress Test Procedure

In preparing for an exercise stress test, patients are reminded not to eat or drink anything after midnight before their test and patients are also advised to avoid caffeine. Patients should bring all medications that you are taking, wear comfortable clothing and appropriate walking shoes and should be prepared to remain in Piedmont Athens Regional's CPV Services facility for at least one hour.

Patients are also advised to be off beta blockers for 24 hours before the test (with your doctor's approval) and to be off Tenormin and/or Theophylline for at least 48 hours before the test (with your doctor's approval).

At the conclusion of the test, physicians may be able to provide a preliminary summary, and a more complete report should be available to the ordering doctor within a day. Patients are able to eat, drink and resume normal activity immediately after the test is over.

Patients should report to the hospital's Talmadge Tower Registration area across from the Talmadge Parking Deck on Talmadge Drive. Plan to arrive 30 minutes before your appointment time and bring your doctor's orders with you.

If you have any questions about this test, call us at 706-475-3654.