This test is an examination ordered by your doctor to evaluate the function of your heart and lungs during exercise. It is often used to determine the cause of your shortness of breath or fatigue. It is also used to test your exercise capacity and fitness before rehabilitation or surgery. It can sometimes be useful in diagnosing exercise-induced asthma.
Preparing for a stress test
While you ride on a stationary bike or walk on a treadmill, your doctor will watch your heart’s and lung’s reaction to the exercise on a monitor. Measurements will be made of the amount of oxygen your body is using.
How to prepare for a Cardiopulmonary Exercise (Stress) Test:
- Do not eat or drink anything, except water and medications (those approved by your physician) for at least two hours before the test.
- Do not drink or eat anything that contains caffeine (such as coffee, cola, tea, or chocolate) for 12 hours before the test. (It may influence the results.)
- Do not smoke for two hours before the test. (It may influence the results.)
- Wear comfortable, light clothing.
- Wear comfortable supportive shoes with rubber soles or sneakers. (You will be exercising.)
What to expect during a stress test
During the cardiopulmonary exercise (stress) test, you can expect:
- When you arrive, electrodes (“sticky patches”) will be applied to your chest, which will record the activity of your heart during the test.
- As you exercise, the level of difficulty will be increased.
- Your blood pressure, pulse, and oxygen level will be watched before, during, and after this test.
- The test takes 30-45 minutes.
After the test, you can resume your normal activities. Your doctor will tell you about the results.