Exercise Stress Test

An exercise stress test shows your heart’s response to exercise. The test records your heartbeat while you walk on a treadmill. It can be done in a hospital, a test center, or a doctor’s office. The test is also called a stress electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG).

Before Your Test

  • Be sure to mention the medications you take and ask if it’s okay to take them before test.
  • Avoid food and drinks containing caffeine.
  • Don’t eat, drink, or smoke for 6 hours before test. No caffeine for 24 hours prior to the test.

Getting Ready

  • Wear flat, comfortable walking shoes.
  • Wear a shirt, blouse, or sweater that you can remove easily. You may be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up. Women may wear a gown.

During Your Test

  • Electrodes (small pads) are placed on your upper body and a blood pressure cuff on your arm.
  • Your blood pressure is taken. An electrocardiogram (EKG) is also done. This test involves small pads called electrodes. They are placed on your chest. The EKG reads the pattern of your heartbeat.
  • Next, you’re asked to walk on a treadmill. You’ll do this until your heart beats rapidly.
  • You will be walking uphill on the treadmill. The treadmill will increase in speed and incline every 3 minutes.
  • Exercise as long as you can, or until you are asked to stop.



During the test, be sure to tell the HCP if you feel any chest, arm, or jaw discomfort. Also mention if you have severe shortness of breath, feel very tired, or feel dizzy.

After the Test

You can go back to your normal daily routine. Be sure to keep your follow-up appointment with your doctor to discuss test results.

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