Exercise Stress Testing

A stress test (GXT) involves exercising (usually walking on a treadmill) while your heart rate, blood pressure and any symptoms you may experience are closely monitored.

Why this test is done?

  • To determine possible heart-related cause of symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath
  • To assess heart rhythm and blood pressure response with exercise
  • To assess risk for coronary artery disease 
  • To evaluate the effectiveness of cardiac treatment procedures or medication
  • To determine safe levels of exercise

How to Prepare for This Test

  • Wear loose comfortable clothing 
  • Avoid smoking and eating anything for 4 hours prior to the test 
  • Do not use lotions, oils, or scented products before the test 
  • Take meds as usual unless your doctor tells you otherwise
  • You may be asked to sign a consent form for the test

 Bring with you:     

A list of medicines you are currently taking

Comfortable shoes to walk in

You maybe asked to come 15-30 minutes before your actual appointment to register

What to Expect During the Test:

Please note: the equipment used may vary depending on where your stress test is done

Prior to the test:

  • Your chest maybe shaved, cleaned, and prepared for the test

During the test:

  • Your heart rate, rhythm, and blood pressure will be monitored during the test
  • You will begin by slowly walking on a treadmill
  • The treadmill is adjusted at varying speeds and inclines
  • You will be asked regularly how you are feeling during the stress test
  • The stress test maybe stopped at any time if you feel unwell or if you have concerns

Immediately after the test:

  • Staff will assist you to sit or lay down to rest
  • Your heart rate, rhythm, and blood pressure will be monitored

The entire test may take up to 60 minutes; this includes a pretest period, walking time, recovery time and documentation of medical records.

After the test:

  • A doctor will review the results of the stress test and send the results to the primary care provider who ordered the test.