While it sounds concerning, a stress test simply monitors your heart during a period of exercise. Using electrodes on your body, your cardiologist can see how your cardiovascular system works during physical activity.
A stress test allows your cardiologist to determine how your blood flows through your heart and can help detect coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, valve disease, and deconditioning. Stress tests are also useful in evaluating symptoms such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, palpitations, and fatigue.
As a stress test requires your heart to work hard, you’ll be asked to exercise until you reach a specific target or until you develop symptoms that do not allow you to continue. You and your cardiologist will discuss your current fitness level before you begin to ensure the test will not be putting you at risk. A few minutes of rest is required after the stress test to watch for abnormalities, and the results will be utilized to develop a treatment plan for your specific condition.