What is a Stress Test?
A stress test allows the physician to observe how the patient's heart works during exercise on a treadmill or bicycle.
Why do a Stress Test?
There are many reasons to do a stress test:
- To observe how the patient's heart rate and blood pressure are affected by the added stress of exercise.
- To observe the patient's heart rhythm while exercising.
- To monitor the EKG (recording of electrical impulses within the heart) for changes during exercise.
- To observe any significant symptoms that may occur during exercise.
How should my child prepare for the test?
- Your child should not eat or drink for three hours prior to the test.
- Your child should wear loose, comfortable clothing and shoes that are suitable for exercise.
How is the test performed?
A technologist will place several electrodes (sticky patches) on the child's chest to monitor the heart rhythm. A blood pressure cuff will be placed around his or her arm to allow blood pressures to be taken frequently throughout the test. The child will then begin to walk on an exercise treadmill. The speed and incline of the treadmill will gradually increase throughout the test. At the end of the test, the treadmill will slowly decrease in speed and incline until it comes to a complete stop. It usually takes one hour for the test including preparation with the exercise part of the test taking 10-15 minutes.
A doctor will be present during the entire test. If at any time symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness or fatigue occurs, the doctor should be informed.
How will I receive the test results?
The Pediatric Cardiologist present during the stress test will discuss the results with you and your child at the end of the test.