Exercise ECG (Stress Test)
What is an Exercise ECG? Why perform the Test?
This is a continuous 12 Lead Electrocardiogram during a walking test on a treadmill. One common reason to perform the test is to look for possible narrowings of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. There are numerous other indications including assessing your exercise capacity.
What happens during an Exercise ECG?
During the test the treadmill increases in speed and inclination every 3 minutes in set increments according to a protocol used by doctors all around the world.
An experienced doctor monitors blood pressure, heart rate and ECG as well as the patient. The patient is continually monitored during the test for any other signs and symptoms
Preparation before the Exercise ECG
On the day of the test we recommend the following
- A light meal is allowable at least 2 hours before the test.
- Please do not use body lotion on your chest - this may interfere with the adhesive electrodes.
- ECG patterns and some of the body’s responses to exercise can be affected by various medications, so please bring a complete list of your medications to your appointment.
- You will be asked permission to perform the test.
What to Wear for the Exercise ECG Test
When you enter the test room patients are required to:
- Undress to the waist, so wear a two-piece outfit and comfortable footwear.
- Women are given a gown to wear.
- Some people bring exercising shorts / tights and walkers / joggers.
Exercise Test Connections
Patients are prepared for the test by having:
- Electrode sites on the chest are cleansed with alcohol wipes
- Some men require a small amount of shaving to ensure good electrical contact between the electrode and skin which can be hampered by bodily movement during the test
- Ten adhesive electrodes are then attached to the chest
- The electrodes are connected to leads
- The leads provide the signals for the ECG to record
Exercise ECG Test - Treadmill
A rest ECG image will be recorded whilst standing on the treadmill.
The treadmill exercise ECG consists of walking on a treadmill, initially very slowly.
A firm grip should be maintained on the treadmill bars throughout the test and your feet should be as far forward as possible.
You will be asked to continue for as long as possible at which point the treadmill will stop.
Recovery after Exercise ECG Test
Afterwards you will rest in a seated position. During recovery you will be monitored by the doctor until you have returned to your “resting level”.
Exercise Echocardiogram Test Duration
The test usually takes 30-45 minutes.