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FAQs: Stress Test

What is a Stress Test?

The stress test is designed to assess general fitness, blood pressure and its response to exercise, and query the presence any narrowing in the coronary arteries which to supply blood to the heart muscle. The heart creates the electrical pulses so it will work in a uniform and organised manner. These currents can be detected on the skin by placing sticky dots or ECG electrodes on specific areas. Commonly these dots are placed on the shoulders, across the chest and on your lower back. A belt that houses the leads will then be placed around your waist. The stress ECG can provide important information about a person’s heart rhythm, indications of a previous heart attack, portions of the heart muscle that may be thickened, problems with conduction of the electrical current through the heart and areas of inadequate oxygen supply to the heart muscle with increasing demand. It is required that we drive the heart to attain a predicted heart rate for your age or in very controlled manner recreate the symptoms you are feeling.


What should I expect?
How long will it take?
Where will it be done?

At the time of the booking, our staff will remind you that comfortable clothing for the exercise should be worn. A good pair of runners and shorts or loose pants are recommended. You may come in this attire or feel free to change in one of our rooms. The entire procedure will take roughly 45 minutes depending on your fitness level. Good skin preparation is the important key to an ECG that is easy for the cardiologist to review. This may involve cleaning down the skin with an alcohol wipe or shaving hairs in the required areas. Once you are prepared you will step up onto the treadmill. For those who have not walked on a treadmill before, there is no ‘right’ way. Walk naturally; look ahead; and the less you think about the treadmill, the easier it becomes. You may be asked to walk a little further than you normally would by the cardiologist. This is important as the higher the heart rate we can attain and the longer you walk for, the greater the accuracy of the test. You may feel lightheaded, short of breath or have mild chest discomfort. If asked, it is important to keep working so we can discern what is occurring at this point. Be strongly assured we are closely monitoring you continuously. Do feel free to report any of these discomforts so we may have a greater understanding of your progress.

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