Stress Test / Exercise Tolerance Test (ETT)
An Exercise Tolerance Test or Stress Test is used to provide information about how the heart responds to stress. It usually involves walking on a treadmill at increasing levels of difficulty, while the electrocardiogram, heart rate and blood pressure are monitored. By placing the stress of exercise on the heart, the test can help to determine if there is adequate blood flow to the heart during increasing activity and help to determine the best cardiac treatment plan for you.
During the test electrodes are placed on your chest, the same as for an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). Your blood pressure, heart rate, and EKG will be recorded at rest, usually while you are lying on your back and again when standing. Then you will be asked to walk on a treadmill, at varying speeds, so that your doctor can compare your heart’s activity before, during and after exercise for any changes.
If you have a medical condition that prevents you from exercising, your doctor may give you a drug that has the same effect on your heart that exercise does. This is both safe and as effective as the exercise itself, resulting in the same test results.
Stress Echocardiography (SE)
Stress Echocardiography (SE) combines an exercise tolerance test / stress test, with echocardiography to give the physician a more complete picture of the heart, comparing the electrical activity and the muscle activity of the heart before and after exercise.