Cardiac Stress Testing

Cardiac Stress Testing (Exercise Tolerance Test) is used to help evaluate the heart and vascular system during exercise. Signs of irregular heart beat, partially blocked arteries and heart attack risk, not displayed at rest, may become evident when the heart has to work harder during exercise. After baseline ECG (electrocardiogram) and vital signs (blood pressure and pulse) are completed, the patient walks on a treadmill that gradually goes faster with increasing incline.

During exercise, the patient’s ECG, blood pressure, heart rate and condition are continuously monitored by a specially trained Registered Nurse under the direction of a specialized physician. The test continues until there are ECG changes or the patient is fatigued, has symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath or feels lightheaded.

Family doctors must forward all referrals for stress testing to the Specialist Clinic. A consultation appointment will occur with a Cardiologist or Internist, during their scheduled clinic, to determine if stress testing is required. If needed, the Stress Test can be completed on that same day. The Internist or Cardiologist will take multiple complex factors into account as they interpret the test results to share with the patient.

Patient Preparation for Cardiac Stress Testing

  • No alcohol for 24 hours prior to test.
  • Please refrain from smoking for 3 hours prior to the test.
  • Patients may eat a light meal prior.
  • Do not use lotions or body powders on the day of testing as they can interfere with application of the ECG (electrocardiogram) leads.
  • Wear/bring comfortable clothing and running or walking shoes
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