EXERCISE STRESS TEST
An exercise stress test is a walking test performed on a treadmill under the supervision of a cardiologist and trained cardiac technician. Whilst walking on the treadmill, you will be connected to a 12 lead ECG which allows the doctor and technician to analyse your heart rate, rhythm and any significant changes in the oxygen supply to your heart.
The test takes up to 40 minutes to perform.
• Do not drink tea, coffee, or caffeinated drinks (example “Coke”) for 3 hours prior to your test.
• Do not smoke for 3 hours prior to your test.
• Bring a list of your current prescription medications with you.
• Wear comfortable exercise clothing and closed in walking shoes to your appointment, and if possible, wear a 2-piece item of clothing (for example a blouse/shirt and skirt/shorts/pants) as you will be asked to remove your shirt. For female patients, please note, if possible, do not wear full-length pantyhose to your appointment as ECG stickers will be placed on your lower legs.
You will be asked to remove your shirt (gowns are provided for female patients) and lie down on a bed. At the beginning of the test an electrocardiogram (ECG) will be performed while you are lying on the bed.
The second part of the test consists of walking on a treadmill. The speed and slope of the treadmill will be increased every 3 minutes or adjusted according to the cardiologists instructions. The objective is for you to walk for as long as you can. Your heart rhythm (ECG), blood pressure and pulse will be closely monitored during the procedure. The test is eventually stopped if and when you develop any symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness, tired legs or chest pain. If there is any change in any of these observations that concerns the doctor, the test will be stopped immediately. If you develop any symptoms (for example, chest pain, chest tightness, dizziness, shortness of breath or generally feeling unwell), you should tell the technician.
Emergency equipment is available should any complication arise, and the staff that are present during the test are highly trained in the use of emergency equipment.
ECG are routinely performed prior to consultation with the cardiologist, to allow the doctor to analyse your heart rate and rhythm.
The information obtained from the ECGs and the blood pressure readings will be reviewed by a cardiologist and the results will be promptly forwarded to your referring doctor, within two working days. Your referring doctor will then discuss your results with you at your review appointment.
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