Home > Non Invasive Tests > What is an Exercise Test?

What is an Exercise Test?

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 1 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Exercise Tolerance Test Heart Rate Blood

Why do I Need an Exercise Test?

If your GP or heart specialist suspects that you may have a problem with the workings of your heart they may request that you take part in an exercise tolerance test. This test is used as a diagnostic tool for determining the presence of cardiac conditions such as coronary artery disease. It may also be used to find out if any procedure undertaken, such as heart surgery, has been effective and has improved the hearts overall function.

It can be used to find out if fitness levels are linked to heart function, to determine a safe level of exercise that can be undertaken by the individual or to see how well the heart adjusts to additional pressures put upon it.

What is Involved in the Test?

Initially the person will have the procedure explained to them as they must understand and co-operate with the physician to achieve a satisfactory and true result.The person will then be attached to a variety of machines such as those that monitor heart rate, rhythm and blood pressure, often with the addition of breathing apparatus to check lung function and capability. A baseline monitoring will be recorded so there is something on which to compare the results.

The individual will then be asked to take part in some form of exercise, usually involving the use of a treadmill. The equipment will usually begin slowly, increasing in difficulty and/or speed as the physician sees fit. Often, the person will be required to breathe into specialist equipment at regular intervals to find out how the lungs are functioning and managing the extra stress.

After the doctor has achieved the degree of stress required, the test will stop and the individual will be asked to have their breathing and cardiac functions tested again.The doctor will then compare results of the monitoring, which will contribute to making an accurate diagnosis, or necessitate the ordering of further tests if needed.

It should be noted that the person will be able to stop the test at any time if they are feeling unwell or are finding it too difficult.

What does the Test Measure?

In general an exercise test will aim to measure how the body reacts and copes with additional stress put upon it. During the test blood pressure, pulse rate, oxygen levels and respiration rate will be monitored and measured against how the body functions when at rest and free from stress.

The body and heart in particular is forced to work harder when put under pressure from increased mobility and exercise, the doctor will examine the results and find out if the heart is responding as expected during this time, and will hopefully be able to find out which part of the heart is not functioning properly.

Exercise tolerance tests are routinely used to measure the overall effectiveness of the heart. They should not be painful and should only be uncomfortable as far as being attached to monitors and undertaking physical activity cause. They are very useful in helping the physician determine any problems with the heart and can help provide a more accurate diagnosis.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Muss
    Re: Hole in the Heart: What Happens Next?
    Hey.... My friend had a hole in his heart since he was born but he discovered it after he turned 17.....now he is 19…
    13 December 2019
  • williniejacobs
    Re: Hole in the Heart
    I was diagnosed of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in 2012 at the age of 63. I had been a heavy smoker, my symptoms started out…
    27 November 2019
  • Abbsx
    Re: Hole in the Heart: What Happens Next?
    i was born with a hole in my heart , when i run i get heart palpitation like symptoms, i have asthma so it might be to…
    15 November 2019
  • MAC
    Re: Hole in the Heart
    I attended pulmonary rehabilitation several years ago and learned the proper techniques for taking my medications, but the medications do not…
    6 November 2019
  • James
    Re: What is Heart Block?
    Hi I have a pacemaker following heart block. Doctors don't know what caused it and told me i should be just fine from now on (I'm only 57…
    28 October 2019
  • puzzled
    Re: Stable and Unstable Angina: What's the Difference?
    Hi, Bit of a puzzler. Was admitted by ambulance after becoming ill. Was grey, soaking with sweat,…
    28 October 2019
  • susantrevino
    Re: Hole in the Heart
    Four years ago I experienced a severe breathing and wheezing problem that my doctor diagnosed as chronic bronchitis with dust allergy. A year…
    26 July 2019
  • Yuri
    Re: Hole in the Heart: What Happens Next?
    I was told I was born with a hole in my heart and the hospital gave my mom this paper that said VSD, but we right away…
    9 July 2019
  • Ritu
    Re: Hole in the Heart: What Happens Next?
    I also have a hole in heart there is 2 hole dr.say that there no treatment bcoz hole is too big I'm always tnsn for…
    8 July 2019
  • Santosh
    Re: Heart Condition Dextrocardia Explained
    Hello there, I have dextrocardia with sinus inversus viscerem. Along with this I have microtia III. Also my eyelid…
    25 May 2019