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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana

Cardiac Stress Test (Exercise Stress Test)

Overview

This is a test that shows how your heart works when you're active. It can show problems with your heart. Your doctor may schedule this test if you have signs of coronary artery disease, or if you have an irregular heart rhythm. A cardiac stress test can also show how well a certain treatment is working. Here's what you can expect during your test.

What to expect

To begin, sticky electrode pads are put your chest, arms and legs. A blood pressure cuff is put on your arm. Then, you'll walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike to make your heart beat faster. If you aren't able to exercise, you can be given a medication to raise your heart rate.

During the test

During the exercise test, you'll start slowly. Gradually, it will get harder. This gives your doctor a good look at how your heart handles physical activity. You'll be closely monitored during your test to make sure you aren't in danger. If you are uncomfortable, or if you have signs like chest pain, shortness of breath or dizziness, you'll stop exercising.

After the test

When the exercise is done, you'll rest while your heart rate and breathing is monitored. Then, you can go home. Your doctor will review your results and let you know if you need treatment or further testing.