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A stress test, or treadmill test, is a form of cardiovascular diagnostic testing to measure how exercise affects your heart rate. Stress testing can help your doctor see how much exercise your heart can handle before having a heart problem or symptoms. A stress test is typically performed while you walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bike at increasing levels of difficulty.
At Dignity Health Heart and Vascular Institute of Greater Sacramento, our skilled cardiologists provide comprehensive care to evaluate, diagnose, and treat heart problems. If you or loved one has been recommended for a stress test in the Sacramento region, Find a Doctor at Dignity Health.
Your doctor may recommend a stress test to evaluate symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath. These are the primary symptoms of coronary artery disease (CAD), a condition in which plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries, causing them to narrow and limit the flow of blood to the heart.
Generally, our doctors use stress tests to evaluate, diagnose, and monitor these heart conditions:
A stress test may be used to monitor your heart if you’ve recently had a procedure or surgery, such as heart bypass surgery, heart transplant, or angioplasty. Stress testing will help your doctor decide how much exercise is safe for you.
Your stress test will most likely be performed in one of our state-of-the-art hospitals or outpatient clinics. During the test, electrodes will be placed on your chest, arms, and legs. You will have a blood pressure cuff on your arm. While you exercise, your heart rate and blood pressure will be monitored. If you have chest pain, trouble breathing, or other symptoms, you can stop the test.
The exercise part of the test will last about 15 minutes. Your provider will watch you closely and respond to any problems.
Once your stress test is complete, a cardiologist will review the results and share them with you.
Common test results may mean:
Depending on the results of your stress test, your cardiologist may recommend further testing to get a better picture of your heart and determine future treatments.