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Stress Test

A stress test or an exercise stress test is a procedure performed to measure and evaluate how healthy your heart is and how well it function during physical stress.

Heart disease is an equal opportunity problem, studies found that it is the number one killer of men and women in the United States, therefore, it is very important to identify if you have any heart problems in order to get the effective treatment and enjoy life.


Some of heart problems are easier to identify when your heart is working hard to pump enough blood throughout your body, such as while you exercise.

Stress tests can detect if your arteries have 70 percent or more blockage. This severe narrowing is what causes the severe chest pain called angina. But normal results from a stress test would not point out the possibility of a future heart attack, the reason is because a plaque can still rupture, form clots and then block an artery.

Stress Test Doctor Heart and Vascular Consultants in Detroit and Livonia Michigan



A stress test is used to help in the process of diagnose and evaluate any heart problems such as ischemic heart diseaseheart valve disease, or heart failure.


Your doctor may recommend this test if you have symptoms of any heart problems, including, but not limited to:


  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

  • Dizziness

  • Irregular or rapid heartbeats

Your doctor also may recommend a stress test for the following purposes:


  • Evaluate any possibilities of having coronary artery disease, your coronary arteries are the major blood vessels that supply your heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients. Coronary artery disease develops when these arteries become damaged or diseased, usually due to a buildup of deposits containing cholesterol and other substances (plaques)

  • Identify abnormal heart rhythms, heart arrhythmias occur when the electrical impulses that coordinate your heart rhythm don't function properly, causing your heart to beat irregularly, too slowly, or too fast

  • Evaluate the effectiveness if you have any cardiac treatment plan, if you've already been diagnosed with a heart condition, an exercise stress test can help your doctor find out how well treatment is working

  • Help your doctor develop a safe exercise program by showing how much exercise your heart can handle safely

  • Your doctor may use a stress test to help evaluate your condition and determine a better timing of any cardiac surgery, such as valve replacement. In some people who have heart failure, stress test results may help the doctor determine whether you need a heart transplant or other advanced therapies.


If your doctor finds a problem, then the stress test also may help your doctor tin choosing the proper treatment plan and determine what types of physical activity are safe for you.

A stress test usually involves physical exercise such as walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bicycle. The test may be done in a hospital or doctor’s office.

While you exercise, your physician will measure your heart rate, blood pressure and your heart’s electrical activity. If you are not able to exercise, your doctor will give you a medicine that will make your heart work hard and beat faster, as if you were exercising.

Your doctor will carefully monitor you while the stress test to minimize any risks of complications caused by the exercise or medicine used to raise your heart rate. Intense exercise during the test can cause some heart problems to get worse. If your doctor gives you medicine to make your heart beat harder instead of having you exercise, there is a small risk of developing certain heart problems after the test.




  • Wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes.

  • Your doctor may ask you not to eat, drink or smoke for a few hours before a stress test. You also would need to avoid consuming any caffeine products the day before and the day of the test.

  • Ask your doctor if it's safe for you to continue taking all of your prescription if any, and over the shelf medications before the test, because some medications might interfere with certain stress test results

  • If you use an inhaler for asthma or other breathing problems, bring it to the test. Make sure your doctor and nurse or technician monitoring your stress test know that you use an inhaler

How the test is performed

Your nurse or technician will place sticky patches (electrodes) on your chest, legs and arms (some areas may need to be shaved to help them stick).

The electrodes have wires connected to an electrocardiogram machine, which records the electrical signals that trigger your heartbeats. The cuff put on your arm checks your blood pressure during the test.


You also may be asked to breathe into a tube during the test to show how well you're able to breathe during hard physical activities.

If you're not exercising, your doctor will inject the drug into your IV that increases blood flow to your heart. You might feel flushed or short of breath, just as you would feel if you were exercising. In some cases, the patient might get a headache.

Your test will probably be performed on a treadmill or stationary bike, starting slowly, then as the test progresses, the exercise gets more difficult. You can use the railing on the treadmill for balance yourself, but don't hang on tightly, as this may shift the results to be less accurate.

You will be asked to keep exercising until your heart rate reaches a set target or until you develop symptoms that don't allow you to continue.


These signs and symptoms may include:

  • Moderate to severe chest pain

  • Severe shortness of breath

  • Abnormally high or low blood pressure

  • An abnormal heart rhythm

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue

  • Certain changes in your electrocardiogram


You and your doctor, nurse or technician will discuss and monitor your safe limits for exercise. You may stop the test immediately at anytime you feel too uncomfortable to continue exercising.


After you finish exercising, you may be asked to stand still for several seconds and then lie down for a period of time with the monitors still in place, so your healthcare team member can watch for any abnormalities as your heart rate and breathing does back to normal.

When your exercise stress test is complete, you may return to your normal daily activities unless your doctor advise you otherwise.

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