Last Updated on Sep 01, 2014


A stress test is used to test for heart disease. It is used to determine the amount of stress that the heart can bear before developing functional abnormality.

The heart’s response to an external stress in a controlled environment is assessed. Exercise stress test is the most common stress test. It is also called exercise electrocardiogram, treadmill test, graded exercise test, or stress ECG. The patient is asked to walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bike. The level of difficulty is increased gradually. Meanwhile electrocardiogram, heart rate, and blood pressure are monitored.

Exercise Stress Test / Treadmill Test

Uses of Exercise stress test

An exercise stress test gives information about how the heart responds to exertion. The following are some of the indications for which a doctor prescribes it:

  • To determine if there is adequate blood flow to the heart during increased levels of stress.
  • To assess the effectiveness of medications to control heart conditions like angina and ischemia, conditions where the blood supply to the heart is reduced.
  • To identify if the patient has coronary heart disease and further evaluate it.
  • To assess the effectiveness of procedures done to improve blood circulation in patients with coronary heart disease.
  • To identify abnormal heart rhythms.
  • To develop a safe exercise program.


  1. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed.

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