Exercise Tolerance Test

Exercise Tolerance Test

What does an exercise tolerance test assess?

The exercise tolerance test allows me to indirectly assess, through changes in the electrical activity recorded by a continuous ECG, whether there is a blocked artery causing a reduction in blood flow and oxygen delivery, to your heart muscle.

This test allows also to record and monitor continuously the blood pressure readings during the exercise and to assess whether there is an abnormal pattern in the blood pressure, which can result in hypertension or hypotension.

The continuous ECG recordings can also detect arrhythmias, which are abnormal electrical activity disturbances, potentially leading to a heart attack or a cardiac arrest in the future.

What does an exercise tolerance test assess?


Contraindications to the Exercise Stress Test

Contraindications to the exercise test are:

  • Severe aortic valve stenosis, which is a severe narrowing of the valve through which the blood is pumped out of the heart.
  • Recent heart failure, which is a dysfunction in contraction of the heart muscle.
  • Unstable angina which means chest pain also at rest, not only on exertion.
  • We stop the exercise test if the patient develops changes in the electrocardiogram or if they have episodes of chest pain or life threatening irregular heart beats.
Are there alternatives to the exercise stress test?
  • Treadmill Stress Echocardiogram, mainly used for patients who can exercise.
    In this test we combine the results of the exercise tolerance test with the echocardiogram performed at the end of the exercise. If there is a blocked artery, the walls of the heart will not function and do not contract well after the end of the exercise, as they will not be supplied with enough oxygen.
How is an Exercise tolerance test performed?

Prior to the test, you should come in comfortable clothes and trainer shoes.

You will have some small electrodes placed to your chest.

They will record your heart electrical activity during the exercise which entails walking and then running on a treadmill.

How long does it take to perform an ETT?

The exercise tolerance test lasts for a variable time of 10 to 15 minutes depending on how fast the patient reaches his heart rate, which must be high enough to cause stress to your heart.

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