Exercise Stress Test

Exercise Stress Testing is the technique used to monitoring the effect of exercise

on your heart.  

Why does my GP want me to have this test?

The procedure may be used to assess cardiovascular fitness, but is most commonly

used to diagnose coronary artery disease (blocked arteries) and angina.

How do I prepare for the test?

The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes.  You will be required to wear

clothing and footwear suitable for exercise.  You will be required to remove the

clothing from your upper body. A gown will be provided for your comfort.  Do not

drink beverages containing caffeine (including Tea/Coffee/Cola/Energy drinks) on

the day of you test.  You should avoid a heavy meal for at least 3 hours before the

procedure.   Do not smoke 3 hours prior to the test.


Please bring an up to date Medication list to the appointment (or a bag with all of your medications in it). Certain medications that affect your heart may need to be suspended for 24 hours before the test. Please discuss this with your Doctor, or call the Clinic if you are unsure.

How is the test done?

Electrode dots are placed on your skin. You may need to have a small amount of chest hair to be shaved.  You will then need to walk briskly on the treadmill to increase the stress on your heart. The treadmill will increase in speed and slope every few minutes, to achieve your maximal workload. Any abnormalities of the blood pressure or ECG tracings will be recorded. You should also report any symptoms you experience to the supervising staff. You may ask to stop the test at any time.


Is it dangerous?

You may encounter some side effects with the stress test, such as;

  • Shortness of breath

  • Minor chest discomfort

  • Dizziness

  • Palpitations; and

  • Muscle fatigue.

Serious complications such as heart attack, life-threatening heart rhythm disturbances, need for admission to hospital or death are rare. 

You will be monitored closely by the medical team during your test.  You may need to wait for some time after the test before driving, if you feel unwell.  


What happens after the test?

The results of the Exercise Stress Test will be made available to your referring Doctor. Urgent problems will be communicated by telephone.