Cardiac exercise testing is a valuable tool for gaining information about a patient’s heart and heart functioning, and their aerobic fitness.
Most cardiac tests are done with a person at rest, but most of the time people are active. Cardiac exercise testing can give information about how the heart responds to the extra demands of activity.
The graded cardiac exercise test collects information that is key for defining how a patient’s heart responds to various levels of exercise and assesses their level of fitness.
Based on the patient’s needs, age or ability, the exercise may be carried out on a treadmill, a stationary bike, or an arm ergometer.
On the treadmill, the cardiac exercise test consists of escalating stages that vary in speed and elevation. Tests performed on the bike or arm ergometer also progress through stages with resistance or work increasing with each stage.
The patient will have a blood pressure cuff on their arm. Blood pressure will be monitored at various levels of the exercise test.
To monitor the heart, an electrocardiogram (EKG) consisting of 10 electrodes will be attached to the patient’s chest.
A mouthpiece and nose clip may be used to measure the patient’s breathing and the volume of oxygen used during the test.
For more detailed information about the cardiac exercise test, ask your doctor.