Exercise Testing

This is done on a bicycle (like the ones in the gym) or a treadmill. Patients have to be able and willing to do the test. The purpose of an exercise test is to stress the heart by getting the patient to increase his heart rate and blood pressure. The aim is to see whether during exercise, there is enough blood getting to the heart muscle. If there isn't, this suggests that the heart arteries are blocked or narrowed. The test is also useful because it measures how much exercise the patient can do, what happens to his heart rate and blood pressure during exercise, and whether he gets chest discomfort or breathlessness during the test.

Exercise testing is also very helpful in patients who have had a heart attack and if done before they leave hospital, saves the patient the anxiety of doing his own unsuper-vised exercise test at home. The result can be used to advise patients how much they can and should exercise (exercise prescription).

Most patients who have at least one oftheir three main heart arteries blocked or narrowed will develop an abnormality.

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