provides blood to all parts of your body. In order to
determine if it’s pumping properly, your health care
provider may order a cardiac stress test. It makes the heart
pump harder and faster, and can reveal potential problems with
heart might not sound like a safe thing for someone with a
cardiovascular condition, but a cardiac stress test is an
important tool for doctors.
information about the pumping function of the heart and
specifically about the vessels which supply the blood flow to
the heart, whether or not there are significant blockages,”
says Dr. Paul McKie, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist.
There are two
types of cardiac stress tests.
common and the preferred approach is to exercise. So a patient
may walk on a treadmill, they may exercise on a bike,” says
That takes less
than 10 minutes, and heart rhythm, blood pressure and
breathing are monitored. If a person has a blockage, often
there is enough blood flow around the blockage at rest.
“It’s only with exercise — when there’s more demands
on the heart — can they not get enough blood flow around the
If you’re not
able to exercise, the other type of test is the use of
medication to simulate the effects of exercise on the heart.
Your doctor may order a cardiac stress test to diagnose
coronary artery disease and heart arrhythmias. It also can
determine treatments if you’ve already been diagnosed with a