An exercise electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a test that checks for changes in your heart while you exercise. Sometimes your doctor can only see heart problems during exercise or while symptoms are present.
This test is sometimes called an exercise EKG, stress test, or treadmill test.
You may need this test to check your heart's electrical activity. It can help find out whether a heart problem is causing chest pain and can help your doctor decide on the best treatment for certain heart problems. It also helps find the cause of symptoms that happen during exercise or activity, such as dizziness, fainting, or rapid, irregular heartbeats.
You most likely will either walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bicycle.
On the treadmill, you will start out slowly in a level or slightly inclined position. After certain periods of time, the speed and steepness of the treadmill will be increased so that you will be walking faster and at a greater incline.
On the stationary bicycle, you will pedal fast enough to keep a certain speed. After certain periods of time, the resistance will be increased, making it harder to pedal.
In both tests:
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.
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Current as of:
May 6, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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