Cardiac Stress Test
A cardiac stress test is a cardiological test that measures the heart's ability to respond to external stress in a controlled clinical environment.
Is a cardiac stress test important?
Stressing the heart might not sound like a safe thing for someone with a cardiovascular condition, but a cardiac stress test is an important tool for doctors.
A cardiac stress test is a physical exam used to monitor the heart.
We perform this test so we can take note of your blood pressure, heart rate and to check for any abnormalities.
You will be asked to walk and run on a treadmill or an exercise bike, in a clinical environment for up to 10-12 minutes while we monitor the heart. During the test, the intensity will slowly increase. The reason why a test is performed this way is so we can correctly assess how your heart reacts and performs during increased activity. The imaging may be performed using an echocardiogram or other routes like MRI and nuclear scanning.
How do I prepare for this?
There is not much you can do to prepare as it is quite a straight forward exam! But you will need to avoid caffeinated drinks and it will be best not to have a full stomach during the test. Those factors may disrupt your physical activity during the test and the results could be inaccurate. It is also recommended to wear comfortable clothing for exercise.
What will my doctor be looking for?
We will be looking for, as mentioned above, how your heart handles increased activity and monitoring your blood pressure. We will also be able to see if you have a more serious condition like coronary artery disease and other types of heart disease.
Is it suitable for everyone?
The stress test is suitable for most people as it is not invasive and does not hurt. People with more severe cardiac conditions may not be suitable for this test. For example, if you have unstable angina, pulmonary embolism or hypertension you could be at more risk and therefore it might be recommended that you do not undergo this test.
Your results will be interpreted to you in a follow-up consultation a few days after your test. We will talk it through with you in great detail and let you know what we have found. We will inform you of any changes or developments that could arise during the test and then discuss the next steps. If you are worried about your results or don’t quite understand then please, do not hesitate to ask any questions, that is what we are here for.
Keeping your heart healthy involves maintaining an active lifestyle and identifying any potentially dangerous heart problems before they become more severe.