Exercise Stress Test

What is an exercise stress test?

Exercise Stress TestAn exercise stress test (EST) is designed to assess how your heart, lungs and blood vessels respond to increasing workload (exercise). It can help provide information about the level to which you can exercise if there are any problems affecting your ability to exercise, and how your condition changes with exercise.

There are different reasons why your cardiologist may want you to have an EST and these may include:

  • symptoms or signs suggestive of coronary artery disease (CAD), chest pain, Shortness of Breath
  • significant risk factors for CAD such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol
  • evaluation of exercise capacity in patients with unexplained shortness of breath or fatigue
  • evaluation of blood pressure response to exercise
  • examination for exercise-induced heart rhythm disturbances (arrhythmias)
  • assessment of your condition after a cardiac procedure such as bypass surgery or coronary angioplasty
  • significant risk factors for CAD such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol

How do I prepare for the test?

  • Avoid use of oils, body lotions, moisturizing soaps or body washes for 3 days prior to testing. These products may affect the quality of your EKG tracings. Examples of these are “Oil of Olay” “Dove” “Ivory” “Caress” or “Aveeno”.
  • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any tape or other adhesives
  • There are no dietary restrictions prior to the test, but you should avoid eating a large meal immediately before your scheduled appointment time, since you will be exercising
  • If you smoke cigarettes, it is advisable to avoid smoking immediately prior to your appointment
  • Please come dressed for exercise. It is very important to wear a short sleeved shirt and sneakers.
  • Please DO NOT wear skirts, dresses, loose pants, slip on shoes, boots, sandals, or flip flops
  • Please secure long hair
  • Females should wear a bra.
  • For male patients it will be necessary to shave any area where there is hair in order to get appropriate tracings. If you prefer, you may do this at home within at least 24 hours prior to your test.

Unless otherwise indicated, please take all of your medications prescribed by your provider as directed on the morning of your test.

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What can I expect?

  • The test will be supervised by a Hamilton Cardiology Nurse, Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant. A Cardiologist is immediately available at all times in case of any medical emergency.
  • Prior to testing, electrodes (sticky gel pads) will be placed on your chest so you can be connected to an EKG machine for monitoring during your test.
  • The EKG patches need to be placed on bare skin. The areas where the patches are placed will require cleansing with an alcohol pad and a light abrasive pad.
  • For male patients, it will be necessary to shave any area where there is hair in order to get appropriate tracings. If you prefer, you may do this at home within at least 24 hours prior to your test. The below picture demonstrates the placement of the electrodes. You may use this as a guide if you opt to shave at home before coming in.   Otherwise, one of our techs will be required to shave the appropriate areas while placing the EKG patches.